Los Angeles, CA– The Los Angeles Sparks (12-8) have lost their third game in a row in a heated contest versus the Washington Mystics (12-7), 83-74 in front of a subdued Staple Center crowd.
The Mystics jumped out to an early advantage as rookie-small forward, out of the University of Texas, Ariel Atkins scored nine of her 11 points within the first couple of minutes of the quarter carrying Washington to a first quarter 19-14 lead.
After a scoreless previous quarter, Candace Parker and Nneka Ogwumike went on a scoring run compiling 13 of the Spark’s 21 second quarter points to keep the score close at 30-28 for the half.
Mystic’s power forward Elena Delle Donne, who also went scoreless in the first quarter, scored five of her 11 points in the second collecting seven rebounds for the game.
Ogwumike contributed eight of her 22 points in the third quarter that threatened the Mystic’s lead. Mystic’s were able to hold on due to Kristi Toliver’s 12 points (seven of those points from the free throw line) ending the third quarter at 54-52.
The fourth quarter was close spear headed by a 12-point outburst, on 71% shooting for the period, from Los Angeles’ Chelsea Gray, including two three-pointers that cut into the lead with 1:18 left in the game.
The Sparks continued to struggle executing offensively down the stretch as the Mystics closed out the game from the free throw line.
Toliver ended the contest with 20 points which was all scored in the second half, going 13-13 from the free throw line. Washington’s center LaToya Sanders added 14 points on 55% shooting with eight rebounds in 24:04 minutes of play.
For the Sparks, Gray finished with a game high 23 points including 3-4 from behind then arch. Ogwumike also added 13 rebounds and five assists in.
Los Angeles Candace Parker struggled to find her rhythm in the game as she was also held scoreless in the fourth and only scored six points on 3-9 shooting with seven rebounds and four assists for the the contest.
Washington also won the battle of the charity stripe as they were 32-35 to LA’s 12-13.
Next on the schedule for Los Angeles are the league-leading scorer Breanna Stewart and the 14-5 Seattle Storm on Tuesday.