Los Angeles, CA– Rounding out the first half of the WNBA season before All Star weekend, the short handed Sparks (15-11) lose to the Atlanta Dream (16-9) in their eight win in a row, 81-71 in front of a Staple Center crowd.
Los Angeles was again without the services of All-Star forward Nneka Ogwumike due to an illness and 12-year veteran guard Alana Beard recovering from a previous groin injury.
The first period had the Sparks set an early pace behind the nine-point effort of WNBA All-Star team captain Candace Parker. However, the Dream would keep pace through the 11 point contribution of small forward Angel McCoughtry to end the quarter 22-18 in favor of the Sparks.
Los Angeles small forward Essence Carson was 3-3 from behind the line as she contributed nine of her game high 11 points and seven rebounds in the second quarter.
The Dream kept the game close as the score was close at 41-37 with the Sparks on top at the half.
The third period saw the Dream out score the Sparks 23-19 in order to tie the contest at 60-60 setting up the final quarter of the game.
Los Angeles’ fourth quarter struggle surfaced once again as they shot 25% from the field as a team including 0-6 from three-point range while Atlanta shot 55% and out scored the Sparks 2111 to win the game.
Parker finished the game with 17 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Chelsea Gray added 18 points on 58% shooting while Maria Vadeeva contributed 10 points, 5-7 from the field with six rebounds in 17:47 minutes off of the bench.
For the Dream, McCoughtry finished the game with 19 points and seven rebounds while center Elizabeth Williams scored 12 points along with six rebounds. Dream shooting guard Tiffany Hayes also contributed 12 points with five rebounds. Brittney Sykes added 13 points and four rebounds as a reserve. Atlanta out rebounded the Sparks 39-29.
The 2018 WNBA All-Star game will be played on July 28 from the Target Center as the Minnesota Lynx will be hosting.