by Chris Camello (@chris_camello)
FLORIDA — After a shaky start to the season, the Los Angeles Sparks are currently on a four-game winning streak to improve to 7-3 through the first half of the season. More importantly than the win streak is how the Sparks have gotten it done.
They have defeated their opponents by an average margin of 15.5 points during this streak showing the league how many weapons they have.
The Sparks really took off when head coach Derek Fisher inserted Sydney Wiese into the starting lineup and moved Riquana Williams to the bench. Both players have thrived in their new roles individually, but that switch has ultimately helped the depth of this squad.
Williams joins a bench unit that has gotten great contributions from rookie Te’a Cooper, veteran Seimone Augustus, energetic guard Brittney Sykes, and solid forwards Kristine Anigwe and Marie Gulich.
The bench has exploded for 147 points during this four-game winning streak with one impressive group performance after another.
Nneka Ogwumike believes the depth gives the Sparks a luxury that many WNBA teams don’t have.
“I was actually talking to Riquana about this and in a lot of ways if you look at our team from a league standpoint, we could have two starting fives,” Ogwumike said. “We have veterans on our team who have started on teams, for us to have that deep of a bench but also that productivity coming out, that energy, and that understanding that we are in this together.”
“That first five we got to get our stuff together,” Ogwumike continued. “I think we have seen from games before, the bench has brought in better energy than the starting five. We have to match that, that’s a great advantage we have.”
Fisher now has a deep bench he can rely on for quality production every night.
“Every season it’s important, I think in a season like this, it’s more important than usual,” Fisher said about the significance of depth. “We try to play as many players as possible that we feel put us in the best position to win that night. Every night it doesn’t happen that way. We talk to our players a lot about staying ready for your opportunities. We tend to focus on the star players and big names, but I believe those complementary and role players make all the difference in the world.”