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Nneka Ogwumike perfect in guiding Sparks to easy win over Mercury

The Los Angeles Sparks thumped the Phoenix Mercury in their season opener. We break down some notable stats and news.

Nneka Ogwumike of the Los Angeles Sparks shoots the ball against the Phoenix Mercury on July 25, 2020 at Feld Entertainment Center in Palmetto, Florida. Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

The Los Angeles Sparks and Phoenix Mercury were expected to put together a compelling matchup to open the 2020 WNBA season. Instead, the Sparks ran off a 30-8 third quarter performance to turn this one into a laugher. LA finished with a 99-76 victory. LA was a three-point favorite coming into the day, but the line climbed up to four points by tip-off. The point total was set at 153 and this game blew to the over with ease.

The Sparks won thanks to a total team effort, but forward Nneka Ogwumike was the star of the game. She scored 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds, but most notably was perfect in shooting. She connected on all eight of her field goal attempts, including two three-pointers, and converted all three free throw attempts. Ogwumike holds the record for mos points without missing a field goal or free throw, when she scored 32 points on 12-of-12 field goals and 7-of-7 free throws, according to Her Hoops Stats.

Phoenix was not facing an easy test, but they have some questions to answer after such a poor second half effort. Diana Taurasi and Skylar Diggins-Smith combined for 30 points, but Taurasi in particular struggled from the floor. They’ll need to figure out how best to utilize those two alongside Brittney Griner if they’re going to find some consistency.

Los Angeles Sparks stats

Nneka Ogwumike: 21 points, 7 rebounds
Candace Parker: 13 points, 7 rebounds
Chelsea Gray: 13 points, 7 assists
Seimone Augustus: 14 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists

Phoenix Mercury stats

Diana Taurasi: 16 points
Skylar Diggins-Smith: 14 points, 6 assists
Brittney Griner: 8 points, 9 rebounds
Bria Hartley: 10 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists