After winning the first two games of the series, the Connecticut Sun go on the road Sunday to attempt the semifinals sweep against the Los Angeles Sparks.
The Sparks may be listed as the home team for Game 3, but the game will not take place in their usual home, the Staples Center. The Sparks and Sun will play Game 3 an hour away at Walter Pyramid at Long Beach State, as the Staples Center complex is being used for tonight’s Emmy Awards.
Although the Sparks won both games that took place in the Staples Center during the regular season, they have a lot of work to do on both ends of the court. Both semifinals games have started out close, with the Sun pulling away in the second half. Over both games, the Sparks are +2 in the first half and -37 in the second half. The Sparks will need to play a much more even game if they want to keep their season alive.
The Sparks spread out the scoring in Game 2, with four players getting into double figures after having just two players scoring in double figures in Game 1. However, their shooting percentage fell from 46.9 to 41.3 percent. The Sparks allowed the Sun to gather 16 offensive rebounds, which also needs to improve.
For Connecticut, they must start to play as well on the road as they have at home. In the regular season, the Sun were 8-9 on the road and have seen massive drop-offs in their offensive road performances compared to their home games, including a nearly 10-point scoring difference.
The Sun have the chance to sweep the Sparks, but to do so, their performance on the road must improve. The Sparks have an opportunity to extend the series, but they need to get their fundamentals back in order to stay in these games late.
No. 3 Los Angeles Sparks (0-2) vs. No. 2 Connecticut Sun (2-0)
When: Sunday, Sept. 22, at 7 p.m. ET
Where: Walter Pyramid at Long Beach State, Long Beach, CA
How to watch: ESPN2, SN1
Keys to the matchup: The Sparks need to get their offense in order while also increasing their energy on the defensive end. The Sun killed the Sparks on the boards in Game 2, and a similar performance for the Sun today could see them through to the WNBA Finals. The Sparks have shown they can beat the Sun, but it will take everything they have.