The Indiana Fever lost 87-77 to the Los Angeles Sparks on Sunday, but their rookies continued to make their presence known.
Destanni Henderson, a first-year player out of South Carolina, had 19 points, three rebounds and three assists in the loss. She was joined by fellow rookie NaLyssa Smith, who contributed 13 points and nine rebounds.
“They’ve been thrown into the mix of it. They’re starting and they’re playing against some of the best players in the world immediately,” fourth-year forward Alanna Smith said of the rookies.
“I think that they have a really good balance of being respectful and recognizing we’re playing against some legends here, but also knowing I’m also a really good player myself, and I’m not going to be scared to take it at you.”
Despite the loss, the Fever didn’t go quietly, going on a 14-4 run in the third quarter to tie the game at 52. They would pull even again at 64 points before the Sparks pulled away for good.
Liz Cambage led the Sparks with 22 points and 11 rebounds for a double-double. Four other Sparks players were in double-digits. Brittney Sykes had 17 points and five steals, and Nneka Ogwumike, Jordin Canada and Chennedy Carter rounded out the list.
The Sparks are 2-0 on the season for the first time since 2018.
The Fever will look to get their first win of the year Tuesday against Minnesota, while the Sparks will look to continue their winning ways Wednesday against the Dream.