Stars’ defense spurs victory
San Antonio Stars (3-8) guard Sydney Colson sat at her locker after Wednesday’s victory against the Los Angeles Sparks (2-9). The guard — reclined in her mesh chair, her legs submerged in ice — looked relaxed.
With only nine players available for the eleventh game of the season, Stars Head Coach Dan Hughes assigned Colson the difficult task of defending one of the WNBA’s most dynamic scorers – Kristie Toliver.
“We just tried to turn her into a passer,” Colson said of her and backcourt mate Danielle Robinson’s defensive strategy for Toliver. “We wanted to get the ball out of her hands and let someone else make decisions. We contested shots. Got over on screens. We were just aggressive.”
Behind a dominant defensive effort in the second half, the Stars defeated the Los Angeles Sparks 70 – 63 on Wednesday, July 8, in the Freeman Coliseum.
In the second half, the Stars, led by Robinson’s game high 22 points and eight assists, stifled Los Angeles’ offense and the WNBA’s best scoring backcourt of Erin Philips and Toliver. The Sparks shot 8-of-37 from the field and were restricted to scoring only two baskets in the third quarter.
San Antonio out scored the Sparks 17-6, which gave the Stars the edge heading into the fourth quarter. From there, the Stars never relinquished the lead and handed Los Angeles its fifth road loss of the season.
“I thought San Antonio played very good defense tonight,” Los Angeles Sparks Head Coach Brian Agler said after the game. “I thought they were well prepared. They played great. I know they had people out, but I thought they put a very good defensive team on the floor.”
Robinson and Colson limited the ‘Splash Sisters’ to making only 5-of-20 shots from the field and 3-of-11 shots from beyond the arc.
In her last game, Toliver scored a career-high 43 points and tied a Sparks franchise-record for the most three pointers made in a single game with seven.
“You take out your two leading scorers, you better defend,” Hughes said. “They dug down. It was a defensive personality you saw today.”
San Antonio played without its two leading scorers, Kayla McBride (right foot) and Jia Perkins (left calf). Both players were in a walking boot for Wednesdays’ game. McBride averaged a team-high 14 points while Perkins contributed 12.1.
A timetable for their return has not been established yet.
The win snapped the Stars’ two-game losing streak and puts them in fourth place in the Western Conference standings.
Sophia Young-Malcolm and Danielle Adams combined for 22 points. Colson came off the bench and scored nine points while recording three steals.
On July 5, the Stars acquired Samantha Logic from the Atlanta Dream in exchange for a 2016 second-round draft pick. She was the tenth overall selection by the Dream in the 2015 draft but has played limited minutes for them this season.
On Wednesday, in her first appearance, she recorded three rebounds and two assists in 13 minutes of play.
San Antonio is seeking its first road victory of the season when they play the Indiana Fever on Friday, July 10 in the Bankers Life Fieldhouse.