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Jun 19, 2024 6:54 pm

Sparks, now without Cameron Brink, open two-game set vs. Liberty

cameron brink

The Los Angeles Sparks will have to start getting used to life without Cameron Brink when they face the host New York Liberty on Thursday night.

Brink, the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s draft, sustained a torn ACL in her left knee during Tuesday’s 79-70 loss to the Connecticut Sun and will likely miss the rest of the season. She had established herself as a daunting presence down low, posting 2.3 blocks per game to go along with averages of 7.5 points and 5.3 rebounds.

Aari McDonald led Los Angeles (4-11) with 14 points and seven assists while Li Yueru added 11 points off the bench in the setback against Connecticut, which extended the Sparks’ losing streak to four games.

Los Angeles coach Curt Miller was most upset with his team’s 24 turnovers that led to 30 points for the Sun, and he’s hoping the Sparks can clean up their act on Thursday.

“As many good things as we did offensively, it was counteracted by the amount of turnovers and their points off turnovers,” Miller said.

New York (12-3) had been on a roll until Tuesday’s 99-93 loss to the Phoenix Mercury snapped an eight-game winning streak.

Breanna Stewart finished with 28 points and all five Liberty starters scored at least 12, but Phoenix got everything it wanted on offense, shooting 55.1 percent from the field and 50 percent from 3-point range.

New York coach Sandy Brondello is hoping Tuesday’s loss served as a learning experience, and she is confident that it will serve the Liberty well when they go up against Los Angeles.

“Sometimes a loss is great for the lessons that we can learn, and we’ve got a lot of busy schedule coming up,” Brondello said. “So we’ll learn from this and then move on and get ready for L.A.”

Stewart leads New York in points per game (19.2) and rebounds per game (9.2), with Sabrina Ionescu (17.7 points per game) and Jonquel Jones (16.8) also shouldering the load offensively.

Dearica Hamby averages a double-double (18.3 points, 10.7 rebounds) for the Sparks, who are also getting 10.3 points per contest from Rickea Jackson.

Thursday marks the opener of a back-to-back set between the teams, who will meet again in New York on Saturday.

–Field Level Media

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