Lynx Hold Off Sparks

Minneapolis (July 5, 2018) – The Sparks dropped their second consecutive game, falling 83-72 to the Minnesota Lynx. Nneka Ogwumike scored the first two baskets of the game but the Lynx answered with a 9-0 run, until Alana Beard hit her first 3-pointer of the season. The Lynx took a 17-9 lead as Lindsay Whalen, Seimone Augustus and Rebekkah Brunson were able to connect on jumpers off of Fowles double teams, which forced Sparks coach Brian Agler to call timeout. An Odyssey Sims shake-and-bake bucket cut the Lynx lead to four, before Brunson hit her second 3-pointer of the game. Minnesota led 20-15 after the first quarter.

The Sparks defense was on point but they could muster just two points in the second quarter until Candace Parker made a 3-pointer with just over six minutes remaining in the frame to cut the lead to 24-20. With the Lynx up seven, Alana Beard grabbed two offensive rebounds that led to five Sparks points, quieting the Lynx momentum, but Minnesota backup point guard Danielle Robinson responded with a 4-0 run over her own.

Parker got going off a pick and pop triple assisted by Chelsea Gray and her short corner jumper on the next possession cut the Lynx lead to 34-32. The teams exchanged baskets and the Lynx led 38-35 at the half. Sylvia Fowles led with 12 points and seven rebounds and Ogwumike led the Sparks with 11 points and four boards.

The Sparks cut the lead to 43-41 on an Ogwumike layup over three defenders, but then gave up back-to-back 3-pointers to Moore and Whalen off broken plays as Minnesota went up 49-41. Lynx reserve Cecilia Zandalasini hit two 3-pointers to give the Lynx their largest lead of the game at 61-49.

Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve got a technical foul for arguing a no-call on Sylvia Fowles and then came onto the court and received her second technical and got ejected. Moments later, Rebekkah Brunson was honored for passing Tamika Catchings as the all-time leading rebounder in WNBA history, getting honored with a jumbotron tribute and a standing ovation from the 9,303 in the Target Center.

The Sparks made mini-runs throughout the rest of the fourth quarter, but were unable to get enough stops to make a serious push. Fowles continued to have her way inside, finishing with 27 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. Candace Parker had 22 points to lead Los Angeles.