Tonight was a night of milestones for the Sparks as they beat the Dallas Wings 91-83. MVP and Defensive Player of the Year candidate Candace Parker recorded her league-leading eighth double- double, finishing with 22 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists, along with hitting 1,300 career assists and passing Delisha Milton-Jones for 14th on the all-time WNBA scoring list. Seimone Augustus also moved up to 10th on the all-time scoring list and 4th in all-time field goals made, after finishing the game with eight points on 3-for-5 shooting.
Four starters on the Sparks scored in double digits: Candace Parker (22), Brittney Sykes (19), Chelsea Gray (16), and Tierra Ruffin-Pratt (10). All five starters for the Wings scored in double digits: Arike Ogunbowale (17), Satou Sabally (16), Allisha Gray (16), Marina Mabrey (13) and Kayla Thornton (11).
Despite being without Nneka Ogwumike for a second game due to back soreness, the team was still able to grab 36 rebounds, including eight from Chelsea Gray, a season-high for the point guard.
“I want to get on the glass a lot more,” Gray said. “When we’re able to get the rebound and push and go in transition, we’re very difficult to guard.”
The Dallas Wings began the game making eight field goals in the first quarter, five from behind the arc. The Wings hot shooting combined with tough defense allowed them to take a 18-9 lead halfway through the first. LA was able to claw their way back but still trailed 23-17 at the end of the first.
The Sparks broke the game open in the second quarter, outscoring Dallas 31-16 and tying their season- high for the most points scored in a quarter. At the half, the team was shooting 70% from 3-point range and 54.5% from the field. Candace Parker led the team with 13 first-half points, while Brittney Sykes, Chelsea Gray, and Seimone Augustus all contributed 8 points.
The Sparks were able to stretch their lead to as large as 18, but a big third quarter from Satou Sabally allowed the Wings to pull within 10 to end the third quarter.
“We want to keep taking steps forward, and we have to clean up a number of things,” Parker said. “But, I think we’re figuring it out. And I think that’s the main thing is figuring it out while continuing to be in games and win.”
Dallas made a push in the fourth quarter to bring the game to within two; however, the Sparks were able to hold on to their lead. Strong defense by Sykes and Parker, combined with foul trouble, held Arike Ogunbowale and Satou Sabally to 4-for-17 and 5-for-16 shooting.
The Sparks are now 13-4 on the season and just half a game back from Seattle, who sits in first place. The team looks to avenge an early season loss against the Storm on Friday at 7 p.m. PT on Spectrum Sportsnet and Facebook Watch.
“One of the things we’ve been talking about since April 26th and even before is really falling in love with the process of becoming a champion,” Head Coach Derek Fisher said. “Not being focused on the outcome of any particular game, but a real love of the process of being great and becoming great.”
Los Angeles Highlights
- The Sparks tied their highest-scoring quarter this season with 31 points in the second quarter.
- Seimone Augustus moved into the Top 10 in WNBA all-time scoring (5,989), passing Tina
- Augustus also moved to 4th in total field goals made (2,449).
- Candace Parker had an early assist to reach 1,300 total career assists (14th all-time) and also
moved to 14th in all-time scoring (5,593), passing Sparks legend DeLisha Milton-Jones
- With 22 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists tonight, Candace Parker notched her 26th career game with 20+/10+/5+. She leads the all-time in that category. The next closest is Tamika Catchings (12) followed by Lisa Leslie (11).
- Parker recorded her league-leading 8th double-double.
- Tierra Ruffin-Pratt scored a season-high 10 points, putting her, Candace Parker (22), Chelsea
Gray (16), and Brittney Sykes (19) in double digits for tonight.