Rebounds Plague Sparks in Loss to Fever

The Los Angeles Sparks met the Indiana Fever in Indianapolis for the final time this season, and fell 74-72, conceding a 10-0 run after leading 72-64 with 3:05 remaining in the game. The Sparks own the season series, defeating the Fever in two prior games in Los Angeles. The Fever outrebounded the Sparks 39-20, beginning with eight offensive rebounds in the first quarter and 15 points and 19 rebounds from Teaira McCowan. Kelsey Mitchell led all scorers with 25 points.

Lauren Cox and Nia Coffey were standouts off the bench. In her first return to Indiana since being waived in June, Cox recorded a career-high 14 points and two steals in 15 minutes of play. Nia Coffey went 3-4 from the 3-point line and scored 13 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter to put the Sparks in a position to win the game. Nneka Ogwumike added 17 points and 5 assists. Ogwumike surpassed 4500 career points and maintained her top three ranking in scoring in Sparks history.

In a lethargic start, the Sparks and Fever battled within six points of each other for the first half of Tuesday evening’s game. Former MVP Nneka Ogwumike brought the offensive energy early, scoring eight of the Sparks first 10 points. Indiana’s Victoria Vivians sparked a momentum swing with a pair of back-to-back steals and layups. The Fever scored the final five points to close the half at 35-30 and out-rebounded the Sparks 24-9. Teaira McCowan and Kelsey Mitchell totaled 21 of Indiana’s 35 points at the half. Kelsey Mitchell led all scorers with 12 points.

In the 3rd quarter, the Fever were able to maintain their lead through the first four minutes. However, the Sparks went on a 22-6 run to put them back on top. Indiana hit a drought and LA found their offensive momentum. Former Fever center, Lauren Cox, hit a career-high and first double-digit game scoring game with 14 points in 15 minutes of play. The Sparks outscored the Fever 26-18 in the third and led 56-53 heading into the 4th quarter.

The Fever took an early lead in the last quarter, courtesy of a jumper and three-pointer by Kelsey and Tiffany Mitchell. However, with the Sparks trailing 59-58, Nia Coffey went on a personal 8-0 run to give the Sparks a 66-59 lead. A Coffey layup and two Ogwumike free throws gave the Sparks a 72-64 lead. Mitchell responded with a pull-up 3-point jumper that tied the game with a little over a minute left. The Fever held the Sparks scoreless in the final 3 minutes to complete a 10-0 run, ending the game 74-72.

The Sparks will face off against the Minnesota Lynx on Thursday, September 2nd at 5 p.m. PT at the Target Center in the final game of their 15-day road trip.