Sparks bid to snap skid in clash vs. Mystics

Jul 22, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA; Los Angeles Sparks forward Nneka Ogwumike (30) brings the ball up court against the Dallas Wings during the second half at College Park Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Sparks need help to qualify for the WNBA playoffs.

Los Angeles is presently tied with Chicago for the eighth and final spot at 15-21 but the Sky hold the tiebreaker, thanks to a 76-75 win on Tuesday night that gave them a 3-1 advantage in the season series.

So the Sparks need wins, starting with Sunday’s home game against the Washington Mystics — and some help from Chicago’s opponents.

Los Angeles shot poorly in its third straight loss, 72-61 to the visiting Seattle Storm on Thursday. Jordin Canada, Jasmine Thomas, Zia Cooke and Evina Westbrook combined to make only 3 of 27 shots. As a team, the Sparks clanged their way to 30.3 percent marksmanship (20 of 66) for the night.

“We had trouble generating good looks for them and then when we got good looks, we struggled to put it in,” Sparks coach Curt Miller said.

While Los Angeles is desperate for wins, Washington (17-19) might be finally hitting its stride at the right time. Racked by injuries most of the season, the Mystics were able to post their first blank injury report in2023 before Thursday’s visit to Las Vegas.

Washington lost that game 84-75 but it is playing a better brand of basketball with the likes of Elena Delle Donne, Ariel Atkins and Shakira Austin back in the lineup. The Mystics thumped Las Vegas on Aug. 26 in Delle Donne’s return to the lineup, and then bagged an 11-point home win on Tuesday against Minnesota.

“We were playing with joy, sharing the ball, trusting in each other,” Delle Donne said of the 78-62 win over the Aces. “That’s what it can look like.”

Delle Donne is averaging a team-high 17.2 ppg despite missing 17 games with various injuries. Brittany Sykes is contributing a career-high 15.5 ppg to go along with 5.0 rebounds and 3.9 assists.

The teams split two previous meetings in a weekend series last month in Washington. This game is being played at Galen Center at the University of Southern California instead of the Sparks’ usual home floor, Crypto.com Arena, due to a scheduling conflict.

–Field Level Media

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