Los Angeles Sparks interim head coach Fred Williams gets first win with the team

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The Los Angeles Sparks got their first win under interim head coach Fred Williams with an 84-82 result against the Washington Mystics on Tuesday night. The win snapped a three-game losing streak.

Nneka Ogwumike led the Sparks with a 21-point performance. This was nothing out of the ordinary, as the 6’2″ forward is leading the team’s offense with an average of 18.1 points per game this season. 

“Nneka has always been the hidden secret around the world on different things,” Williams said. “She is always prepared to play and give it her all. I think people are taking notice of that. I think she is playing at an All-Star performance right now. Hopefully those numbers continue for us and for her.”

As a team, the Sparks shot at 49.3% from the field and 42.9% from 3-point range, something Williams said was a big deal because of how tough Washington is on defense. The Mystics are currently the top defensive team in the league, holding opponents to 75.1 points per game. 

Williams said he has been working on transition with the Sparks, which he thought looked a lot better in the first half of the game. He also changed the starting five on Tuesday.

“It was just something we saw on paper with the stats and the size of Washington that we wanted to match up,” the coach explained. 

The Sparks were up by 16 points with under seven minutes to play, but the Mystics almost pulled off a comeback. Williams said his team was doing a good job on defense for the most part and that the extra added pressure at the end was a good learning experience.

“The main thing for us is closing out games,” he said. “We closed this one out and came out with at W… I’m really proud that we just hung in there. It was a good game experience for the young ladies.”

The Sparks missed the playoffs for the first time in a decade last season, and started this one with a 5-7 record before parting ways with head coach and general manager Derek Fisher two weeks ago. Williams, who has 10 seasons of experience as a head coach with three different franchises, took over until the team makes a decision on a new coach.

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