The Los Angeles Sparks have struggled through much of the season but are hopeful of putting together a late-season charge as they enter Tuesday's game against the Indiana Fever in Indianapolis.
Though the Sparks (10-18) recorded a 91-83 win over the host Washington Mystics on Sunday, it was just their third victory in the past 14 games. They reside in ninth place in the 12-team league.
Last-place Indiana (7-21) has been even worse with 14 losses in its last 16 games. The Fever lost 82-73 to the host Atlanta Dream on Sunday.
Los Angeles star Nneka Ogwumike averaged 27.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.5 steals when the Sparks swept two home games from Indiana in the final week of July.
Ogwumike had another strong outing against the Mystics as she produced 20 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and two blocked shots.
The win made the Sparks' Curt Miller (150-104) the fifth-fastest head coach to reach 150 victories in WNBA history. He is in his first season with Los Angeles after coaching the Connecticut Sun from 2016-22.
"Curt continues to cement his legacy as one of the most successful women's basketball coaches at both the collegiate and professional level," Sparks general manager Karen Bryant said of Miller, who also coached Bowling Green and Indiana. "... We're excited to celebrate this milestone with him as we build the next era of the L.A. Sparks."
The Fever are playing the fifth game of a stretch in which they play 10 of 12 at home. Indiana is 1-3 so far during the span.
Rookie star Aliyah Boston matched her season high of 25, collected a season-best four steals and also had 10 rebounds during the loss to Atlanta. She is averaging 22 points, nine rebounds and 3.5 steals over the past two game, both defeats.
Indiana had the league's worst record (5-31) last season and felt it was making progress when it needed just 12 games to match last season's victory total.
But the long stretch with setbacks adding up has reminded everyone there is still a lot of rebuilding to go.
"We hate going into the locker room with a loss, especially the heartbreaking ones that are within points at the end of the game," Indiana second-year pro Lexie Hull told reporters. "But I definitely think moving forward, it is encouraging."
—Field Level Media