The Los Angeles Sparks (19-15) 2018 season came to an end Thursday evening in the nation’s capital when they fell to the Washington Mystics 96-64. This was the second elimination game the Sparks played in less than 48 hours on Tuesday they took down the defending champion Lynx in Los Angeles. They entered Thursday’s game on one full day of preparation against a team that already beat them twice this year.
They came out with a surge and with energy in the first quarter but the Mystics settled in and never looked back as they won every quarter. They ended the first half on a 44-18 run and poured it on in the second half.
Candace Parker who did not have much of an offensive output on Tuesday against the Lynx (2 Pts) came out much more aggressive scoring 13 points in the first half. The Mystic did a much better job on her keeping her to just 3 points in the second half and she was the only player to score in double figures. She did lead the team in rebounds with 8. Chelsea Gray and Nneka Ogwumike who combined for 45 points in the win against the Lynx combined for just 15 points. The Mystics did a great job containing those two especially Gray who had 26 points on Tuesday did not score her first basket until 6:32 left in the 3rd quarter.
The Sparks were a minus in two major categories rebounding (36-29) & assist (28-15).
The Mystics coming off extra rest because of their first round bye took full advantage of the Sparks lack of rest and travel from one coast to another. They came into Thursdays matchup with the Sparks with all the confidence knowing they've had their number. They won the season series 2-1 and snatched their hearts in the final matchup defeating them at the buzzer.
They were led by Elena Delle Donne who had another double-double against Sparks with 19 points and 12 rebounds and also dished out 4 assist. The other four starters along with Delle Donne scored in double figures and the Sparks were off balance defensively all night unable to just key on Delle Donne.
They combined for 52 points and the bench contributed 25 points. They now will travel to Atlanta to take on the Dream in a five game series starting on Sunday on ESPN2.
The Sparks now turn their attention to the 2019 season Candace Parker a year older (32 next season) they will have major decisions to make for the direction of this franchise.