Sparks collapse in the fourth quarter, fall to Dallas

Dallas Wings forward Kayla Thornton #6 on the break during the Dallas Wings vs Los Angeles Sparks game at Staples Center in Los Angeles, Ca on July 12, 2018. (Photo by Jevone Moore)

Los Angeles, CA -The Los Angeles Sparks streaky season continues. They snapped a three-game losing streak with an overtime win over Seattle on Tuesday.

Dallas outscored the Sparks in the second half and guard Skylar Diggins-Smith scored 22 points to put Sparks back under the losing column with a 92-77 victory on Thursday at the Staples Center.

“We weren’t quite as sharp in the second half,” Sparks coach Brian Agler said. “We didn’t do a very good job on second-chance points. Offensively, we turned the ball over and we weren’t aggressive in the second half.”

The Wings went on a 21-7 run in the fourth quarter to drop the Sparks behind Dallas in the Western Conference standings and 2.5 games back from first place Seattle.

Sparks fought back in the first half after trailing, 21-19, in the first quarter. Riquna Williams drained back-to-back three pointers to cut the Wings’ lead, 35-31. Candace Parker scored nine of her 16 first-half points in the second quarter to lead the Sparks to a 50-48 halftime lead.

Dallas lost leading scorer Liz Cambage in the second quarter due to her arguing a call. Instead of capitalizing on Cambage being out, the Sparks regressed their aggressiveness and Dallas made shots.

“They changed their matchups and we didn’t play inside out,” Angler said. “I like the way we came back in the first half but obviously we are all disappointed with the outcome of the game.”

Williams made a 3-pointer with 7:52 remaining to pull the Sparks within one at 71-70. Then, Dallas took control of the game, out scoring the Sparks, 23-12, in the fourth quarter.

Parker led the Sparks with 21 points while Williams finished with 16 points. Nneka Ogwumike added 12 points for the Sparks.

Ogwumike said with Cambage being out, Dallas capitalized on their mismatches.

“They switched their offense,” Ogwumike said. “We didn’t really respond well to that.”

The Sparks have lost six of its last seven games.