Los Angeles, CA- The LA Sparks are used to winning streaks, but they are trending in a different direction. The Sparks fell to the Washington Mystics 83-74 on Saturday afternoon. Los Angeles has now lost 3 in a row.
“I think we just have to do something that feels good,” said Candace Parker, “I think that’s the key to making our offenses flow and making our defenses, you know, I think we’re best when we’re aggressive defensively.”
It was a special night for Washington head coach Mike Thibault, who earned his 300th career regular-season win. He is the first coach in the WNBA to accomplish such accolade.
“It just means I’ve been at it for a long time,” said Thibault, “It’s a nice number, but the only number I care about is that we’re the last team standing.”
LA Sparks once again had to battle a slow first quarter start but a strong second quarter helped the Sparks take a 35-30 lead into halftime. Los Angeles held Washington to 11 points in the 2nd quarter.
In the second half, the Sparks had a difficult time defending the pick and roll, giving up too many uncontested baskets. Also, for the game, the Mystics were able to get to off 35 free throws, converting 32 of those attempts. LA was 12-13 from the line.
“[It’s] huge. Free throws are indicative of how we play defensively,” said Alana Beard, “They wanted it more and were being more aggressive in that sense, so it played a
LA Sparks Chelsea Gray had a game 23 points on 10 of 14 shooting. Nneka Ogwumike had another double-double with 22 points and 13 rebounds.
Washington has now won 6 out of its last 7 games, while Los Angeles has lost 5 out of its last 6.
The Mystics were lead by Kristi Toliver who had 18 points, making all 13 of her free throw attempts. LaToya Sanders contributed 14 points and 8 rebounds.
“LA is tough. They present different looks throughout the game,” said Toliver, “Nothing was consistent; they always kept you on your toes, read the defense, and make plays.”
The LA Sparks (12-8) will now travel to Seattle for their next game against the Storm Tuesday afternoon.