LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Sparks defeated the Atlanta Dream 70-60 at home Tuesday night, making head coach Derek Fisher’s the ninth WNBA coach to hit the 20-win mark in their first full season of coaching.
Candace Parker finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds while Chiney Ogwumike logged 17 points and 10 rebounds, both notching their third and fifth double-doubles of the season, respectively.
The Dream won the tip and got on the board first, but the lead swung back and forth with a total of five ties and six lead changes in the first 4:48 minutes of the contest. Parker – who led the Sparks in points, rebounds and assists on the night – notched four points and dished out two assists in the first 5:12 of the game, helping Los Angeles to eight of its first 12 points. But the Dream answered with a 10-0 run and jumped ahead 22-14 with 2:22 to go in the quarter.
Maria Vadeeva ended the Dream’s run with a layup off of an offensive rebound, but Atlanta’s Alex Bentley drained a pull up jumper to end the quarter, extending the Dream’s lead to 24-16. Bentley logged nine points and two assists in the period.
In the second quarter, a layup by C. Ogwumike and a steal by Chelsea Gray on the following possession – which led to layup – capped off a Sparks 9-0 run, knotted the game at 26-26 and forced Atlanta to burn a timeout. Out of the huddle, Los Angeles continued their hot shooting with layups by Parker and Ogwumike to extend it to a 13-0 run, giving the Sparks a 30-26 advantage.
Bentley, however, ended Los Angeles’ run with her second and third 3-pointers of the night to regain the lead for Atlanta. The Dream took a 34-30 lead, but back-to-back layups by C. Ogwumike – who replaced her sister Nneka Ogwumike in the starting lineup – tied it up at 34-34. The Dream ended the quarter with Monique Billings going 1-of-2 from the free-throw line, heading into the locker room with a 35-34 halftime lead.
After the break, the Sparks’ defense held the Dream – who shot just 3-of-17 in the quarter – scoreless until the 5:37 mark. Los Angeles forced Atlanta into five turnovers and outscored the Dream 17-10 in the period. The Sparks played its best defensive third quarter of the season, but saw a 13-point lead diminish to 51-46 heading into the final period.
The two teams exchanged baskets multiple times in the fourth quarter, but the Sparks were able to hang on for their 12thstraight home win, which tied for the Sparks’ third-longest home winning streak in franchise history.