The Los Angeles Sparks allow the highest rate of offensive rebounds in the league and have been beat badly on the offensive boards in all six games since star forward Candace Parker's return from injury.
Yet they managed to hold the Seattle Storm without an offensive rebound in the first half of tonight's game, which has to be a bright spot despite a 37-30 halftime deficit.
It's not exactly as though the Sparks are dominating the offensive boards either with only one of their own, but the combined anemic combined offensive rebounding output is something of a testament to how well both teams played defense in the first quarter in which each team shot only 33.33 percent.
Then after a rather grinding defensive game in the first quarter, both teams found ways to free themselves up for scoring opportunities in the second quarter and the Storm really started clicking. The Storm shot 53.3 percent in the second quarter, shot 5-for-7 from the free throw line, and didn't commit any turnovers.
Tanisha Wright led the scoring effort in the first half with a game-high 11 points, but it was Lauren Jackson's performance that stood out. Jackson tied for a team-high four rebounds scored 10 points, including two three point plays against Parker deep in the post where few in the league can stop the reigning WNBA MVP.
Aside from picking up two fouls trying to stay with Jackson, Parker has been relatively quite with a game-high six rebounds and only four points. The Sparks stayed in the game in the second quarter with 4-for-8 3-point shooting, led by Ebony Hoffman's 3-for-4 performance as well as a long ball from usually low scoring point guard Ticha Penicheiro, who led the team with 10 points.
After playing just under eight minutes in their loss to the Tulsa Shock on Friday night, Sparks guard Kristi Toliver got her 12th start of the season as head coach Joe Bryant tries to find a combination that works.