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Syndication: The Indianapolis StarLos Angeles Sparks forward Dearica Hamby (5) goes in for a lay-up against Indiana Fever forward NaLyssa Smith (1) on Tuesday, May 28, 2024, during the game at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

There are glimmers of hope for the Los Angeles Sparks as they continue to grind through a difficult start to their WNBA season.

Coach Curt Miller noticed as much after his team dropped its second consecutive game, falling 81-76 to the Minnesota Lynx on Friday night.

“I saw so much potential in this group tonight,” Miller said in a postgame interview. “I told them after the game we are coming together and are starting to play better and better basketball.”

Los Angeles (4-9) is currently on a seven-game trip and hopes to notch their first win of the road swing Sunday when they face the Atlanta Dream (5-6). The Dream also have lost two in a row — their most recent a 91-84 defeat at the hands of the host Indiana Fever on Thursday.

This will be the second meeting of the season between the Sparks and Dream. Atlanta won 92-81 on May 15 in Los Angeles in the season opener for both teams.

Dearica Hamby scored 20 in that one and has been a big-time player for the Sparks. In Friday’s loss to the Lynx, she scored 16 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for her 11th double-double of the season. She is averaging 19.7 points and 11.4 rebounds per game, along with 1.7 steals, to lead Los Angeles in all three categories.

No other Sparks player averages in double-figure scoring, though Rickea Jackson (9.8), Kia Nurse (9.6) and Lexie Brown (9.0) are close.

Brown averages a team-high 3.7 assists, just ahead of Hamby (3.6) and Aari McDonald (3.0).

Rhyne Howard, who finished with 25 in the first matchup against Los Angeles, continues to be a leader for the Dream. She poured in a season-best 26 against the Fever, and the third-year pro is averaging 16.2 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. She’s also one of the league’s best defensive players, tallying 2.5 steals per outing. Howard has scored in double figures in four consecutive games.

“Shout out to my teammates,” Howard said in a postgame interview. “They are getting me open, they are finding me the ball, they are trusting in me and looking to get me open and get me the ball.”

Allisha Gray is next on the Dream with a 15.0 scoring average, with Tina Charles (11.8) and Cheyenne Parker-Tyus (11.1) also averaging double figures. Charles also tops Atlanta with 8.8 rebounds per game.

–Field Level Media

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