After defeating the Atlanta Dream, the Los Angeles Sparks keep their WNBA playoff chances alive

WNBA playoff
Source: Skysports

The Los Angeles Sparks beat the Atlanta Dream 74-68 on Thursday night in College Park, Georgia, to keep their WNBA playoff chances alive. Brittney Sykes led four players in double figures.

For Los Angeles (12-19), Nneka Ogwumike had a 15-point, 10-rebound double-double, while Te’a Cooper had 14 points and Nia Coffey had 10 points and nine rebounds off the bench.

The Sparks are in ninth place, a half-game behind Washington in the eighth. The Mystics must lose at home against New York on Friday night or they will be eliminated from playoff contention. After winning the regular-season series 2-1, Washington holds the first tiebreaker.

Tiffany Hayes, the Mystics’ MVP candidate, led all scorers with 25 points, but she didn’t have enough help.

Courtney Williams chipped in with 13 points and 10 rebounds, while Odyssey Sims chipped in with 11 points as a reserve. Atlanta (8-23), on the other hand, made only 38.1 per cent of their field goal attempts, including only 5 of 18 three-point attempts.

Los Angeles went on an 8-2 run after taking a 60-58 lead with 4:39 left after Williams hit a 20-footer. In the burst that made it 68-60 with 50.4 seconds left, Ogwumike hit a long-range two-pointer, a layup, and a foul shot.

Atlanta got out to a quick start, taking a 13-6 lead on a three-point play by Hayes just over five minutes into the game. Los Angeles came back, cutting the lead to 21-20 after a quarter thanks to a pull-up jumper by Arella Guirantes with 5.4 seconds left.

In the second quarter, the Sparks tightened up on defence, holding the Dream to only 10 points. They went on a 12-2 run to start the session, putting them up 32-23 on Coffey’s transition bucket and taking a 34-31 lead into halftime.

In the opening half of the third quarter, Los Angeles maintained collecting defensive stops, stretching the lead back to 49-41 when Coffey hit a long three-pointer at the 2:33 mark. Atlanta, on the other hand, recovered to narrow the deficit to 53-49 heading into the fourth quarter.

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