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Cheyenne Parker, Dream top Sparks with last-second shot

Sportsnaut
Oct 10, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; A view of the offical game ball during the second half of game one of the 2021 WNBA Finals between the Phoenix Mercury and the Chicago Sky at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Cheyenne Parker scored the winning layup with 0.3 seconds remaining and Rhyne Howard scored 28 points to lead the Atlanta Dream to a pivotal 88-86 victory over the Los Angeles Sparks on Friday night at College Park, Ga.

Parker scored 15 points and Aari McDonald and Maya Caldwell added 12 apiece for the Dream (14-18), who won their second straight game.

After Parker’s layup, Los Angeles’ Nneka Ogwumike made a short jumper but didn’t get the shot off before time expired as the Sparks (12-20) lost their sixth straight game and ninth in their past 11.

Brittney Sykes recorded 23 points and seven rebounds and Ogwumike added 16 points for Los Angeles. Lexie Brown tallied 13 points, Katie Samuelson had 12 and Olivia Nelson-Ododa added 10.

Atlanta is in seventh place with four games remaining, while the Sparks are tied for 10th with the Minnesota Lynx. The top eight teams made the playoffs.

Howard, the runaway favorite for WNBA Rookie of the Year honors, notched her 10th 20-point effort of the season. She has reached the mark in five of the past seven games.

The Dream led 78-72 after Caldwell’s 3-pointer with 4:13 left before the Sparks scored seven of the next nine points. Sykes converted a three-point play and Brown added a basket to bring Los Angeles within one with 2:32 to play.

Parker scored in the interior 11 seconds later for Atlanta before Samuelson’s layup moved the Sparks within 82-81 with two minutes left. Naz Hillmon split two free throws with 1:14 left for the Dream before Ogwumike tied it at 83 with 58.3 seconds to play.

McDonald converted a three-point play with 48.6 seconds to give the Dream an 86-83 lead. Samuelson buried a tying 3-pointer with 3.2 seconds left.

Atlanta made 24 of 26 free throws and shot 46.8 percent from the field, including 6 of 16 from 3-point range.

The Sparks connected on 47.9 percent from the field and were 3 of 17 from behind the arc. Los Angeles hit 13 of 15 free throws.

Howard scored 16 points in the first quarter as the Dream held a 34-24 lead. Los Angeles used a 13-0 run to tie the score at 45 before Atlanta’s Erica Wheeler made two free throws with 11.3 seconds remaining to give Atlanta a 47-45 halftime lead.

Howard tallied 12 points during a quarter-ending 20-7 run as the Dream took a 71-61 lead into the final stanza.

–Field Level Media