As the end of 2021 approaches, WNBA.com concludes this 25th season by recapping each team’s season. Take a look at notable contributors and season highlights with the 2021 Season Review. Next, the Los Angeles Sparks.
With just three players from the 2020 squad returning, the Los Angeles Sparks faced a rebuild in the offseason. The team brought veteran experience with Erica Wheeler, Amanda Zahui B. and Nia Coffey during free agency. In addition to writing Jasmine Walker and Arella Guirantes at n Â° 7 and n Â° 22.
Head coach Derek Fisher’s goal of re-branding this team was cut short as they struggled with injuries throughout the season, four players (including LA centerpiece Nneka Ogwumike) missing 72% of possible matches.
Despite this, the team’s strong defense (No. 3 in the league) and offensive power came from Erica Wheeler’s new addition as she was second in points behind Ogwumike. This gave the Sparks yet another shot at the eighth seed in the playoffs. Unfortunately, the team lost by three points to the Dallas Wings and missed the playoffs. The Sparks finished the season 12-20.
Considering all of the Sparks’ injuries, it will be interesting to see how Derek Fisher can rebuild himself next season when the majority of the squad should be in good health.
Nneka Ogwumike has struggled with a knee injury this season, missing a good chunk of games. Despite that, when Ogwumike was on the pitch, she fueled the team’s offense, leading them to a four-game winning streak. Plus, the 2016 MVP led the team in scoring (14.5) and pulled some big shots for the Sparks when they desperately needed them. On August 20 against Atlanta Dream, with 0.1 seconds remaining, she pulled off the winning backhand that gave the team a 66-64 victory.
After not playing in 2020 due to being in WNBA medical protocol for the entire season, Erica Wheeler has returned to the WNBA this season now on a new and better team than ever. With ease, the 2019 All-Star MVP became the Sparks’ new point guard. She averaged a career-high 13.7 points per game and finished 5th in WNBA clutch points. The goalie’s 5-7 crossover villain has not only broken many ankles this season, but has also shown his ability to score on teams’ top defensemen. Erica Wheeler lost a high 22 points (tied two more times this season) and distributed five assists against Chicago to help LA win.
OMG @ EWeezy_For3eezy no you DON’T have
NBA Television pic.twitter.com/aQsMsfATsO
– WNBA (@WNBA) September 13, 2021
In his second season with the Sparks, Sykes established himself as one of the best defensive threats in the league. The goalie tied 5-9 for first in the WNBA in interceptions per game (1.8) and led the league with 58 total interceptions. Even with all the injuries, she held her own for the team, leading them to the league’s third-highest defensive efficiency this season. His impressive defense earned him the honors of the elite defensive first team. On June 20, she recorded seven career-high thefts against the New York Liberty.
WHAT A STORY @BrittBundlez ??
– WNBA (@WNBA) June 25, 2021
Highlights of the season:
Nneka Ogwumike named recipient of Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award
Nneka Ogwumike has been named the 2021 Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award winner for the third year in a row.
A real chef.
– WNBA (@WNBA) October 3, 2021
Four-game winning streak
From Aug. 15-22, the Sparks enjoyed a four-game winning streak, beating the Indiana Fever Fever, the two-time Atlanta Dream and New York Liberty.
– WNBA (@WNBA) August 20, 2021
Ogwumike and Augustus named to W25 list
2016 MVP Nneka Ogwumike and assistant coach (4x WNBA champion) Seimone Augustus were named one of the WNBA’s top 25 all-time players, the W25.