Sparks can’t control Delle Donne

Elena Delle Donne drives to the basket. Photo by fi360 News

Los Angeles, CA – Inside, outside Elena Delle Donne was on fire dropping a game high 26 points in Washington Mystics 94 – 81 victory of the LA Sparks.

The Mystics came out strong with a game plan to attack the paint. They out scored the Sparks 40-26 in the paint.

Photo by fi360 News

They feed off the energy earlier, this being first game after all-star break the teams were not at full strength. But the Mystics were more prepared jumped on them fast.

With 3:14 on click in 1st quarter the Mystics already jumped out to 24 – 14 lead making Sparks coach Fred Williams call a timeout to regroup his team.

“We have a solid defensive team, but we were slow today, ” said Chiney Ogwumike, “It was good experience to not have her (Nneka Ogwumike) her tonight, so we don’t take her for granted.”

Liz Cambage in the paint. Photo by fi360 News

That 10 point lead was the norm for most of the game, even with a few Sparks run to narrow the lead to five point a few times. As soon as they thought they could break the cushion someone would drop a bucket.

Natasha Cloud was just as deadly shooting 75% from the three finishing with 21 points and 9 assists. For another solid performance at the guard position.

With the Sparks trailing by 5 point with just over 6 minutes left in the game, the Mystics were on fire with three 3-pointers by Delle Donne intertwined with two more 3-pointers added by Cloud to press the lead to 15.

“She (Delle Donne) is a challenge to guard her anywhere on the court,” said C. Ogwumike.

After tonight’s loss the Sparks have to move past this game and protect home court. They have 8 home comes on the schedule which is heavy and in their favor if they can get healthy and win.

Photo by fi360 News

“We control our destiny, ” said Brittney Sykes, “We have to protect home court.”

The series now split one game each with there last meeting in Washington on August 7th.

Next up for the Sparks will be Chicago Sky Thursday night at home with the opportunity to take the series.