PHO vs LAS Dream11: The WNBA All-Star game remains just a week away and a lot of fireworks are promised there. But there are fireworks in the Regular Season itself as we are crawling towards the Playoffs stage. We have seen some eye-catching battles throughout the season but frankly, time is running out for the squads still out of the loop. And two of these squads Phoenix Mercury and the Los Angeles Sparks will clash here.
The Mercury season was off the rails from the start and although things have improved, they are a shell of the team that made the Finals last season. With 13 losses and 9 wins, they have struggled against elite teams and it happened in their last game versus the Sky, where they lost 75:91 despite a 25 points effort by Skylar Diggin-Smith. Meanwhile, the Sparks have not improved that much after a horrific season and have 9 wins and 11 losses. They have done well, recently, winning three of their last four games, and come into this game after defeating the Liberty 84:74 as Nneka Ogwumike rolled out 22 points. Can the Sparks continue their improved performance against a vulnerable Mercury?
Home: Los Angeles Sparks
Visitors: Phoenix Mercury
Match Timing: 5 July, @ 04:30 AM (+05:30 UTC)
Venue: crypto.com Arena
Mercury needs consistency
After three wins in a row, Mercury rolled out another abysmal performance versus the Sky. Their defense has had no answer for elite offenses and even sub-par offenses at times. The biggest reason for that has been the absence of Griner who provided, size, quickness, and athleticism. Without her, the team is now forced to play a smaller lineup and the big players see a lot of daylight. Offensively too, there are issues and the burden gets too heavy on Skylar and Diana at times. The Mercury needs to fix the defensive issues more than anything.
Is the improvement a mirage?
The Sparks began the season on a low note and frankly, they had to play too much on the road which interrupted the team chemistry. However, they have showcased some improvements lately, the defense being one and shooting being the other. Sparks doesn’t have a strong shooting team for sure and there is no doubt that their tendency to repeatedly go inside the block only makes the offense more predictable. Cambage has been a hit and miss so far, the guard position has been inconsistent but Forward Nneka continues to get it done.
Highest scorer: Nneka Ogwumike: 24
Highest rebounder: Brianna Turner: 9
Top assists maker: Jordin Canada: 7
Score Prediction: Sparks: 86 Mercury: 78
Los Angeles Sparks Teams News:
Sparks Expected Starting Five
Isolation Forward: PF: Nneka Ogwumike
Inside Presence: C: Liz Cambage
Stretch-Three: SF: Katie Lou-Samuelson
SharpShooter: SG: Kristi Tolliver
Defensive Guard: SG: Lexie Brown
BENCH: Chiney Ogwumike, Chennedy Carter, Jordan Canada, Olivia Nelson-Ododa, Lexie Brown.
Phoenix Mercury Teams News:
Mercury Expected Starting Five
Post Forward: F: Brianna Turner
Defensive Threat: F: Sophie Cunningham
Two-Way Energy Bunny: G: Shey Peddy
Isolation Scorer: PG: Skylar Diggins-Smith
Playmaking Guard: PG: Diana Taurasi
BENCH: Megan Gustafson, Karlie Samuelson, Diamond DeShields, Sam Thomas, Kristine Anigwe.
Forward Nneka has been amazing in terms of scoring the ball and her strong isolation game has been keeping the Sparks in the Playoffs race. I expect a 18-25 points and 6-9 rebounds range. She can be selected as a Star/Pro Player in the Dream 11 WNBA Prediction scenario.
Expected Fantasy Points Range: 35-45
Skylar is having another tremendous scoring season and her intensity has been at its peak again. I believe she will be in 19-24 points, 4-6 assists, and 3-5 rebounds range.
Expected Fantasy Points Range: 34-44
Guard Diamond has brought a lot of energy on both ends of the floor off the bench, having a solid season overall. I believe she will be in 12-17 points and 5-8 rebounds range.
Expected Fantasy Points Range: 25-35
Liz Cambage (LAS)
Center Liz has had a couple of solid games but the team needs her to be more consistent on both ends of the floor. I expect 13-19 points and 7-10 rebounds range.
Expected Fantasy Points Range: 24-34
Chiney brings a lot of rebounding and inside scoring off the bench and has done a great job catching passes. I believe she will be in 8-14 points and 8-11 rebounds range.
Expected Fantasy Points Range: 22-32
Diana had an off night versus the Sky, but she has done her bit in terms of shooting the ball. I believe the veteran will be in 13-18 points and 4-7 assists range.
Expected Fantasy Points Range: 20-34
(If Tolliver plays)
PG: S Diggins-Smith(SP), S Peddy
SG: K Toliver
SF: L Brown
PF: N Ogwumike(PP), C Ogwumike, S Cunningham
C: B Turner
(If Toliver doesn’t play)
PG: S Diggins-Smith(SP), J Canada
SG: J Simms
SF: K Lou Samuelson, L Brown
PF: N Ogwumike(PP), C Ogwumike, S Cunningham
C: L Cambage
Skylar Diggins-Smith and Nneka Ogwumike always put on a show when matched up against each other, wanna watch it? You can catch this game on the WNBA League Pass which is an avenue WNBA action can be seen. You can watch the highlights of the game on the official YouTube of the WNBA. To know the scores, news, and stats, visit the official website of the WNBA.