The Los Angeles Sparks opened their three-game homestand with a win against their rival the Minnesota Lynx 79-57 led by Candace Parker’s 23 points, 10 points, and four assists.
Los Angeles looked to stop their five-game home game losing skid and end their season series with Minnesota on a good note.
Nneka Ogwumike (illness) and Alana Beard (groin) returned to the starting lineup after missing three games before the All-Star break.
WIth defensive pressure from the Sparks, the Lynx were not able to connect on their outside shots from the three-point line. Los Angeles was able to capitalize on many early Minnesota mistakes. Minnesota had three turnovers four minutes into the game. Los Angeles was able to get an early 11-4 lead halfway through the quarter. The Sparks kept a fast pace that the Lynx was not able to contain behind an early ten points from Candace Parker.
Chelsea Gray connected on a three-point shot to give the Sparks a twelve-point lead at the end of the first quarter 20-8.
Minnesota was 4-18 in shooting to start the second quarter. They could not find a good rhythm on the offensive end. Los Angeles sustained a double-digit lead as Minnesota finally found their stride a bit courtesy of Sylvia Fowles with 3:40 left in the quarter.
Chelsea Gray assisted a Nneka Ogwumike at the 3:12 mark in what was a spree of assists that Gray had for the game.
After starting 0-5, Fowles made four shots to try to cut into the deficit late in the quarter. Danielle Robinson banked a mid-range jumper with 43.2 left in the game. Minnesota was desperately trying to cut the lead to single digits going into the half.
The second quarter ended with the Sparks leading by eleven 40-29 behind the point production from Chelsea Gray and Candace Parker. Parker had 16 points and six rebounds to end the first half.
Minnesota opened the third quarter on a 5-3 run to bring Los Angeles’ lead to ten. At the 6:53 mark, Odyssey Sims and Lindsay Whalen got into a spat on the court which resulted in an offensive and a technical foul on Sims. With a pair of free throws, Sylvia Fowles was also able to cut the Sparks lead to eight. This altercation fueled Los Angeles further to extend their lead to 12 midway through the quarter 37-49.
The third quarter ended as the Sparks held on to a 13-point lead 59-46. Through three quarters, the Lynx had twelve turnovers meanwhile the Sparks had seven.
With the starters on the bench for Minnesota at the beginning of the fourth, Los Angeles was able to extend their lead to 14 over halfway in the quarter and eventually 24 points that was their largest lead of the game late in the quarter.
For Minnesota, Sylvia Fowles was the only player in double digits with 14 points, eight rebounds, and three assists. Maya Moore scored only eight points on 4-9 shooting, Rebekkah Brunson had seven points on 3-9 shooting, and Seimone Augustus had six points.
Candace Parker ended the game just four points shy of reaching 5,000 career milestone but she did record her ninth double-double of the season with her 23 points and 10 rebounds.
Chelsea Gray finished the game with 18 points on 10-18 shooting, five rebounds, and nine assists while Nneka Ogwumike finished with 15 points on 7-11 shooting and six rebounds.
This win for the Sparks moves them to the third overall seed in the league, snaps their five-game home losing skid, and moves them to 3-1 in their season series with the Lynx.