Washington, DC- Coming off two straight wins, the LA Sparks (4-4) fell to the Washington Mystics (4-5), 89-71, in the nation’s capital, Thursday night.
Unlike the first few games, the Sparks were unable to maintain the same defensive intensity.
LA is number one in the league in forcing turnovers (21 per game) but did not effectively apply the same defensive pressure against the Mystics (13).
Head coach Derek Fisher said after the game, “I think you have to give Washington a lot of credit. I don’t think it was a complete lack of effort. I think they just caused us more stress defensively. We weren’t able to be as disruptive and get some additional field goal attempts off of our turnovers, which is what we really need to be able to score consistently.”
LA shot 32.8% from the field and 34.8% from 3-point range. Washington had 18 assists on 30 made baskets, shot 42.3% from the field and 42.3% from the 3.
After trailing by 10 at the half, 35-45, LA’s defense began to show some life in the third quarter. They were taking charges, getting stops and trimmed the lead down to six, 42-48.
The Sparks were in striking distance, but second chance opportunities for the Mystics allowed them to extend the lead to 13, 58-45, at the 6:03 mark.
“We kind of spaced out a little too much, or we overhelped. We just have to keep it tight like we’ve been doing in other games where everybody is moving on a string. Once we get back to that, we’re good to go,” said Brittney Sykes.
The biggest lead was 24 points in the fourth quarter, 77-53.
“You have to really tip your cap to Washington. They were better than us tonight,” said Fisher.
Washington played with poise and kept them on their heels. There were no ties and LA trailed all game.
“This is part of growing as a group. At some point, you’re going to get knocked down and the best ones find a way to continue to chip away at it. Continue to fight the fight, and that’s what we have to do. We just have to figure out a way to take a look at some things tonight that we can do better and prepare ourselves to have a chance to win hopefully in Minnesota on Saturday night,” said Fisher.
With her first made bucket of the game, Amanda Zahui B. passed 500 career made 2-point field goals.
Erica Wheeler recorded her 600th career assist in the first half and made history to be 73rd all-time in assists.
All available Sparks players scored in Thursday’s game.
LA Sparks continue their road trip as they visit the Minnesota Lynx on Saturday, June 12 at 5pm.