"I'm still kind of in shock," Sparks star Nneka Ogwumike tells KPCC of her team's WNBA championship win on Thursday night. "I'm still trying to really ingest how it feels."
Along with her teammates, Ogwumike will have time to soak up the accolades on Monday, October 24, when the city of Los Angeles celebrates the team's victory.
The Sparks victory celebration kicks off at L.A. LIVE's Microsoft Square at 4 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Most of the team will be on hand as will LA Sparks coach Brian Agler and team owner and NBA legend Magic Johnson.
In what proved to be a nail-biter of a game, the Sparks defeated defending champs the Minnesota Lynx 77 to 76 in Game 5 of the WNBA Finals in Minneapolis. The title is Los Angeles's first since 2002.
And it was achieved in no small part thanks to Ogwumike, who was named league MVP — although she's quick to share the credit.
"It was a great honor," Ogwumike says. "My teammates were a big reason why I was able to have the season that I had this year. The chemistry was great, on and off the court."
She also lauds head coach Brian Agler, who is only in his second year coaching the Sparks.
"Coach Agler did a really good job of maintaining our focus. He came in and incorporated a culture of determination. By the end, we were really hungry. He always talks about having the hungriest team, and I think we were able to display that in our playoff run," Ogwumike says.
She won't have much time to rest on her laurels. In a week, Ogwumike heads overseas to play for Russian team Dynamo Kursk. That brief break is longer than she and other players typically get — not that she minds: "That's kind of what our lives are all about. We sign up for it, we love it."