Jordin Canada provides a spark during her return, but Sparks extend losing streak

Sparks guard Jordin Canada dribbles looks up the court
Former UCLA star Jordin Canada finished with 13 points, seven assists and three rebounds during the Sparks loss to the Dream Wednesday.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

Jordin Canada’s electric, dark blue sneakers seemed to super-charge as they zipped across the Arena court on Wednesday night. The Sparks point guard was back, and in a big way.

Her return and roaring hometown fans were exactly what the Sparks needed after returning from an 0-3 trip but they still fell short, losing to the Atlanta Dream 90-79.

The game was more competitive than the Sparks’ 112-84 road loss to the Dream (8-8) on Sunday.


Rhyne Howard has a career-high 43 points to help the Atlanta Dream rout the short-handed Sparks, who finish their three-game road trip winless.

July 2, 2023

“We challenged them at at halftime,” said Sparks coach Curt Miller, “and you know, to hold that talented team to 39% shooting in the second half is a victory and something we can build on.”

“There’s a lot of victories tonight for us and none more than the character that it showed coming out of the locker room.”

The Sparks (7-11) have had players miss a total of 52 games because of injury or illness this season, including the two Canada sat out after landing hard on her left shoulder June 28 in Chicago. The former UCLA star finished with 13 points, seven assists and three rebounds.

Sparks forward Nneka Ogwumike finished with a team-high 19 points and 10 rebounds, and Azurá Stevens added 16 points and 12 rebounds for the Sparks, who still are without four starters because of injury.

Allisha Gray had 23 points to lead the Dream.

“We had some fight and some umph to how we played and I don’t think we had that in the last game,” Stevens said, “So that’s improvement. And that’s what it’s all about. It’s continuing to get better.

“Yeah, we lost, but we fought and that’s really important.”

It was an uphill battle for the Sparks after the first quarter, during which the Dream kept the home team off balance. But then, guard Karlie Samuelson led a second quarter bounce-back, hitting a three-pointer and letting out a cheer.


The Sparks’ injury wave led to Rae Burrell and Destanni Henderson signing hardship contracts, which help WNBA teams fill rosters and players fulfill dreams.

June 21, 2023

She finished with five points before getting pulled after two hard falls and taking a step that “didn’t feel well,” according to Miller.

Miller described the current active Sparks roster as underdogs, with a few rookies and hardship contract players going up against players such as Gray as well as Rhyne Howard, who scored 15 points for the Dream.

Rae Burrell played 16 minutes tonight with strep throat, Miller shared. Additionally, Samuelson is tentatively out with a foot injury that will require X-rays.

The uncertainty regarding Samuelson’s injury is just another sign that adversity isn’t going to let up for the Sparks.

“Next man up, that’s that mentality that we have to have,” Canada said. “Because you never know when your number is gonna get called.

“Everybody’s locked in, everybody understands that, you know, one person goes down another person comes in and steps up.”