When news cam through that Candace Parker would miss more time the Sparks might have been concerned. Enter Nneka Ogwumike.
With Candace Parker not in the team, many pundits, myself included wondered if the Los Angeles Sparks would struggle to start this season. She has been one of the bedrocks which has supported this franchise since she was drafted.
Parker is listed as questionable due to a back issue which means she is close. However, the Sparks did not play her in the season opener against the Minnesota Lynx which they won. They then held her out against the Indiana Fever, a game they also won.
They have done this on the back of Nneka Ogwumike stepping up and filling the large hole left at center. In the Minnesota game, playing against the MVP from last year, Ogwumike more than held her own.
In 37 minutes she had 19 points, nine rebounds and two steals. Compare this with Fowles who had 15 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks. Ogwumike did not allow Fowles to dominate the game in the way that allows the Lynx to win.
Turning to the Fever game, Ogwumike was matched up against Natalie Achonwa who was coming off a 21 point, 12 rebound double double. Ogwumike would shut down Achonwa in this game, only allowing her two shots.
The Sparks star would go on to score 25 points on 11-of-13 shooting. Added to this she would collect 10 rebounds and four assists in a complete performance.If Parker does not return for a little while, we may be looking at the 2018 WNBA MVP.