Parker leads Sparks in “big win” at home against Chicago, Delle Donne misses second half

Los Angeles beat the only Eastern Conference team with a win over the Sparks this season Tuesday night. The Chicago Sky (15-8) defeated L.A. 94-82 on June 29 at home but their luck changed at the Staples Center last night in front of 10,553 fans. The Sparks (17-7) came out on top 80-76. Chicago Sky All-star rookie Elena Delle Donne left the court at 5:37 in the second quarter. She did not return to play after sustaining an injury to her left foot.

Candace Parker paced the Sparks with 18 points and seven rebounds while Kristi Toliver added 15 points, four assists, and four rebounds.

Sylvia Fowles led the Sky with 22 points and nine rebounds; 16 of her points came in the second half. Courtney Vandersloot added eleven points and six assists while Tamera Young finished with 10 total points and five rebounds off the bench.

Chicago remains in first place in the East while Los Angeles is second in the West behind Minnesota.

The Sparks on the game

Sparks head coach Carol Ross
(On what worked)
“It wasn’t any one thing you could point to. I thought we had some resiliency—in the fourth quarter especially. I thought Marissa Coleman really came in and gave us some energy, made some hustle plays, and then you just had the 40-minute grind of different players stepping up at different times. Jantel (Lavender) had a good first half. Candace (Parker) was consistent. Nneka (Ogwumike) was battling in there and then you had the little guards—(Kristi) Toliver had a moment where she was just making play after play. Just, again, a team effort.”

(On team showing pride against one of the best teams in the league)
“We did. (Elena) Delle Donne went out at some point, but teams are good—just like we were able to win without Candace (Parker) on our road trip. Chicago’s still a good team, so it doesn’t diminish our win. I was very happy with our ability to just find ways because we weren’t fluid and we didn’t always do the best things on the defensive side either. Again, we made enough plays.”

Sparks guard Kristi Toliver
(On the importance of the win)
“It’s a big win, especially the first one after a long road trip is key. I am happy to get a win at home after a little drought and keep the momentum going. It was a tough game, it was physical. We expected that with Chicago, that’s how they play, that’s how we want to play. Happy to come out with the win and looking forward to Indiana.”

Sparks forward Jantel Lavender
(On her recent strong play)
“We just have a flow I think. On the road trip we got a little tighter and closer because Candace didn’t play in a couple of games, but it made everybody have to play that much harder, even myself. So, just rolling like that, and my teammates believing in me and finding me in great position.”

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