Tuesday, June 22nd, 2021

Defensive-minded Los Angeles begins home streak with 77-69 victory over Minnesota; Lynx skid extends to four games

Published on June 4, 2018


LOS ANGELES (June 3, 2018) - Candace Parker. Photo: NBAE/Getty Images.

LOS ANGELES (June 3, 2018) – Candace Parker. Photo © NBAE/Getty Images.

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Sparks (4-1) returned to action a week after winning their home opener and battled past the Minnesota Lynx 77-69 in front of a sellout crowd of 13,500 Sunday afternoon at Staples Center.

The Sparks came out strong as starting forward Candace Parker had nine points in the first quarter in her second game this season. The Sparks led 20-12 in the first period before the Lynx went on a 5-0 run to pull to within 20-17 heading into the second quarter.

The first half was like a heavyweight championship bout. Both teams fought tooth and nail not wanting to give an inch. Los Angeles led most of the first half, trading blows with the Lynx. With score at 38-33 Sparks had the ball with 30 seconds left in second quarter before Lynx forward Maya Moore stole the ball and finished with a layup to cut the Sparks lead to 38-35.

Parker answered with an offensive board and a put back with 7.8 seconds left in the half. She went to the line after being fouled by the Lynx’s Lindsay Whalen but failed to capitalize. Moore rebounded after Parker’s missed free throw and went coast to coast for a running pullup three-pointer. The Sparks had a slim 40-38 lead at the break.

Early in third quarter with the score at 42-40, a pair of Lynx techs on guard Seimone Augustus and head coach Cheryl Reeve appeared to light a fire under Minnesota.

Moore drained a triple to give her team a short-lived lead, 43-42. Soon after, Lynx center Sylvia Fowles picked up her 4th foul as her team trailed 46-43 with 6:48 left in the third quarter. The Sparks began a 10-5 run to lead 56-48 heading into the last period.

Los Angeles extended their lead early in the fourth quarter to double digits. After an Odyssey Sims three-pointer gave the Sparks a 61-50 lead followed by a jumper from Essence Carson, Lynx coach Reeve called a timeout with 6:35 remaining and a 65-53 lead by Los Angeles. After the timeout, the Lynx went on a 7-3 run before Sparks guard Alana Beard hit a mid- range jumper to give Los Angeles a 70-60 advantage with 4:12 left.

The victorious Sparks had four players finish in double figures: Parker with a double-double (19 points 10 rebounds, Chelsea Gray (15), Nneka Ogwumike (12), and Sims (12)

Moore led the Lynx with 18 points plus five rebounds. Fowles added 14 plus eight rebounds. Off the bench, guard Danielle Robinson had 12 points and Alexis Jones contributed 10.

Beard added nine points and her defense, especially against Moore, helped the Sparks keep Minnesota from ever mounting an effective comeback.

The Lynx dropped their fourth straight game. Poor free throw shooting led to their demise as they were 12-of-20 from the charity stripe. Also notable, Lynx perennial All-Star Lindsay Whalen played an unlucky seven minutes finishing scoreless and with no assists.

Overall, the Sparks scored 26 points off 18 Lynx turnovers.

“This isn’t going to win back the title from last year, but its a step in the right direction,” Parker said about her team’s performance. “I think our chemistry is good, were getting everybody back….I think there’s a lot of things that we did well in this game. I think we fought hard defensively and obviously Alana does a great job defending the best players in the league night in and night out. I think defensively we really stepped up our intensity in the second half and made things difficult for them.”

Sparks head coach Brian Agler agreed with Parker’s assessment.

“I thought Candace obviously looked a lot better physically today than she did the last game,” Agler said. “The week of practice helped her.” He also had praise for Beard’s defense.

“Of course, Alana Beard. She’s as good of a defender as I’ve been around. She just makes it difficult on whoever she’s guarding. Defensively, we were pretty solid. But I can’t say enough about the efforts that Alana does as an individual assignment on somebody. Maya Moore is as good as there is. There’s not anybody better than Maya Moore. Alana just makes it difficult.”

The Sparks continue their home stand hosting the Seattle Storm on Thursday, June 7 followed by two more home games (Chicago on June 10 and Atlanta on June 12). Minnesota stays on the road with a game at Washington on June 7.


  • Points in the Paint: Lynx 36, Sparks 36
  • Second Chance Points: Lynx 8, Sparks 8
  • Fastbreak Points: Lynx 10, Sparks 2
  • Biggest Lead: Lynx 2, Sparks 12
  • Lead Changes: 7
  • Times Tied: 6
  • Jantel Lavender made her season debut for the Sparks.
  • Parker had 17 points in the first half.
  • The Sparks held the Lynx to 10 points in the third quarter.
  • The Lynx committed 13 turnovers in the first half.
  • Minnesota has not lost four games in a row since 2010.


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