Photo by Brad Rempel, USA TODAY Sports
The Los Angeles Sparks (16-11) ended a five game home losing streak on Thursday night defeating the Minnesota Lynx handily 79-57. They start their post All-Star break in the right direction as they look forward to ending the regular season with momentum heading into the postseason.
Photo by Jim Mone | AP
They got a huge boost with the return of Alana Beard (Groin) and Nneka Ogwumike (illness) who have both missed significant time in the last month. Candace Parker coming fresh off playing in Sunday's All-Star game played like the All-Star captain she was chosen to be having a double-double with a game high 23 points (9-16 fg) and 10 rebounds. She was dominant from start to finish and the Lynx were not able to slow her down. She beat the Lynx defenders off the dribble to get to the basket and make plays for herself and teammates, and she hit two out of three of her three point attempts.
All-Star Chelsea Gray had 18 points and a game high 9 assist (just as many as the Lynx starters combined) and kept the Lynx defenders on their heels all night. She was asked in a post game interview about her ability to keep defenders off balance with her ball handling and she said "kind of get people on their heels a little bit, especially in transition and if they lean one way take them another." Nneka Ogwumike who missed the previous three games chippedin with 15 points (7-11 FG) and 6 rebounds said after the game "I feel fine."
Photo by Brian Few, Jr.
The Lynx (15-11) played from behind for most if not all game and were never able to get within striking distance. They only had one player in double figures (Sylvia Fowles 14 points) and shot 10% from three 1-10.
All-Star Maya Moore did not have one of her best games scoring 8 points (2 in 2nd half) and 4-7 from the field and did not make either of her two three point attempts. The return of Alana Beard may have had most to do with that as she shadowed Moore all game long making her uncomfortable.
Now the Sparks prepare for a tough game Sunday afternoon against the 16-12 Phoenix Mercury.
Next Game: Sunday 8/5 vs Mercury 4:00 PT