The Ogwumike sisters look to continue causing double trouble for opponents as the Los Angeles Sparks open a four-game road swing Tuesday against the New York Liberty.
The Sparks (1-1) picked up their first win of the year Friday night, defeating the Connecticut Sun 77-70. Chiney Ogwumike scored 20 points against her former team while Nneka Ogwumike added 19 and 15 rebounds for Los Angeles. The siblings were a potent tandem on both ends of the floor as part of a defensive effort that limited Connecticut to 30.8 percent shooting for the game and 37.2 percent in the paint.
"We definitely are competitive individually, but you saw today we're competitive collectively," Chiney Ogwumike told the Los Angeles Times. "It's not gonna be perfect, but as long as we have the right mindset that we're not gonna get outworked, I like our chances against anybody."
The sisters will be relied upon to anchor the frontcourt while Candice Parker recovers from a hamstring injury suffered in the preseason. The Sparks are also without Alana Beard indefinitely since the guard did not make the trip east due to a leg injury. The team re-signed veteran guard Ashley Walker - the final preseason cut - after being granted an emergency hardship salary cap exception by the league.
The 32-year-old Walker totaled 28 points and eight rebounds in Los Angeles' two preseason games.
New York (0-2) opens a four-game homestand after a 92-77 loss Saturday at Indiana completed a home-and-home series sweep by the Fever. The Liberty - still trying to get coach Katie Smith her first victory - were outscored 11-0 to start the game and never recovered, trailing by as many as 28 points en route to their 15th consecutive defeat dating back to last year.
Tina Charles scored 15 points and moved into 15th place on the WNBA's all-time scoring list with 5,470 points, while Reshanda Gray added 11 and nine rebounds off the bench. Charles needs 19 points to pass Vickie Johnson and become the Liberty's franchise leader.
No. 2 overall pick Asia Durr had eight points in Saturday's loss and has averaged 10.0 points while shooting 35.0 percent (7 for 20) in the first two games. New York is still well shy of the WNBA record for consecutive losses of 20 set by the Tulsa Shock in 2011.
Los Angeles won all three games between the teams last year, including an 82-81 victory in the lone contest played in New York.