The Minnesota Lynx snapped the Sparks nine-game winning streak, as LA fell 96-78 to their rivals. The Lynx frontcourt led the way as 2019 Rookie of the Year Napheesa Collier scored 25 points and grabbed nine rebounds and Damiris Dantas scored 17 points to go along with nine rebounds. Chelsea Gray led the Sparks with 18 points and five assists. LA was without Nneka Ogwumike due to back soreness.
Los Angeles opened up the game hot, shooting 47.4% from the field and scoring 26 points in the first quarter. Chelsea Gray continued her strong shooting streak with an 11-point first quarter on 80% shooting. Additionally, Candace Parker opened up the game with a quick six points and finished the game in a tie with Sparks legend DeLisha Milton-Jones for 14th all-time in points and secure 11th all-time in field goals, passing Katie Douglas and Lauren Jackson, respectively.
Once the second quarter began, Minnesota put their foot on the gas pedal offensively, outscoring the Sparks 30-14 to close out the half led by Napheesa Collier and Damiris Dantas each scoring 12 points. The Lynx carried this momentum throughout the rest of the game, shooting a healthy 53.6% from the field and 51.9% from the three.
“I would just say that basketball is a game of runs,” Chelsea Gray said after the game. “What are we doing after they have a run and what are we doing to have that switch in our head that says alright that’s enough, enough is enough? What are we doing in our minds on both ends of the floor to be able to stop that run? We’ll take a look at film and get better there.”
Minnesota had four players score over 15 points: Napheesa Collier (25), Crystal Dangerfield (21), Rachel Banham (18), and Damiris Dantas (17). The Sparks had three players finish in double-figures: Chelsea Gray (18), Te’a Cooper (12), and Riquna Williams (11).
The bright spot for Los Angeles tonight was their bench which scored 40 points led by Te’a Cooper’s 12- point performance. In limited minutes, Kristine Anigwe made an impact for LA, scoring eight points and snagging six rebounds in the absence of Nneka Ogwumike.
“I think the biggest lesson is that when you win or lose, each game is an opportunity to enhance your ability to do very basic fundamental ordinary things, in an extraordinary way,” Head Coach Derek Fisher said. “Great and extraordinary athletic achievements happen to the people and to the teams that are able to do the most basic ordinary things at a high level.”
The LA Sparks look to bounce back in their next game against the Dallas Wings on Wednesday, Sept. 2 at 5 p.m. PT. The game will be nationally televised on CBS Sports Network and will also air on Spectrum Sportsnet.