While the Las Vegas Aces seem to have found a nice rhythm, the Los Angeles Sparks apparently still need time to get on the same page now that two of their biggest stars are back in the mix.
The visiting Aces can record a season-high third consecutive victory Thursday night with a second win this season over the Sparks, who look to avoid a fifth straight defeat.
Saddled with high expectations following the acquisition of Liz Cambage to a lineup of budding stars, Las Vegas (6-4) started a bit slow. However, it has won four of five and is coming off a gritty 60-56 home win over Seattle on Tuesday.
"We expect a lot out of ourselves," guard Kayla McBride told the Aces' official website. "We demand a lot out of ourselves -- this team, this organization. When you're not living up to expectations it can be tough. But, when you get wins like (Tuesday) ... and you start building that trust with your teammates, that's always a positive."
Cambage had 14 points with 13 rebounds as Vegas overcame a 31.4 percent shooting night to close on a 7-1 run that stunned the Storm.
"All wins can't be beautiful," said forward A'ja Wilson, who had 12 points, eight rebounds and three blocks. "I wish they could, but we learned definitely that we gotta grind things out. We learned nothing is easy in this league. We have to attack every single game like it's a playoff game."
Las Vegas didn't play a particularly clean game against Los Angeles on May 26 with 16 turnovers and 4-of-14 shooting from 3-point range, but it was certainly the better team during a season-opening 83-70 victory.
Playing without Cambage, Wilson had 21 points with 11 rebounds, McBride scored 20 and Dearica Hamby contributed 12 points and 14 boards as the Aces held the Sparks to 36.4 percent shooting.
The Sparks (4-6) played that contest without star Candace Parker, who was dealing with a hamstring injury. Parker totaled five points and nine rebounds in her first two games back, but recorded 12 with 11 rebounds Sunday. However, Los Angeles remained winless with her on the court after falling 82-72 at Phoenix.
Parker is 5 of 28 from the field and 2 of 11 from 3-point range for the Sparks, who have been outscored by an average of 16.8 points during their four-game slide. L.A. last dropped five in a row in 2015.
Fellow veteran star Alana Beard has just eight points in two games since returning from a seven-game injury absence. Teammate Nneka Ogwumike scored 17 versus Vegas, and recorded 11 points with 13 boards against the Mercury.
Ogwumike's sister, Chiney, hopes for a better effort against the Aces after being held to two points on 1-of-10 shooting in the opener.
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