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Sparks comeback falls just short in 81-75 loss

A huge first-half deficit was too much for L.A. to overcome.

Los Angeles Sparks v Seattle Storm Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

For the third game in a row, the Los Angeles Sparks came out of the gates with lethargy. For the third game in a row, they fell behind at least 6-0 before you had a chance to turn on the TV.

Unlike in Thursday’s game against the Connecticut Sun, the deficit kept ballooning, hitting 9-0 and then 12-1. And more importantly, unlike in that game, the Sparks never quite pulled off the comeback.

They tried, though. It just wasn’t quite good enough after digging such a big hole, as L.A. ended up losing 81-75.

The Seattle Storm dominated the first half, leading by 11 after one quarter and 16 at the break. The Sparks scored a mere 29 points in the first half, looking sloppy, slow, and unengaged.

When the second half came around, L.A. set out to undo what had once been a 17-point deficit. And it was the veteran rivals-turned-teammates duo of Candace Parker and Seimone Augustus that led the charge.

Parker continued her early season trend of putting a rough 2019 behind her, as she led the Sparks with 19 points, 12 rebounds, and 3 assists. With Nneka Ogwumike and Chelsea Gray struggling (they combined for 20 points on 8-of-24 shooting), the Storm’s defense put the bulk of their focus on Parker. She got her numbers, but the double and even triple-teams got the job done: the two-time MVP turned the ball over 6 times, and the offense was often disrupted when the defense collapsed on her and no one provided a release valve.

Augustus did her best to step in off the bench, scoring 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting. She had big shot after big shot down the stretch, as the Sparks cut the deficit to 10 entering the final frame, and whittled it down to a single possession game in the waning minutes.

But the 2018 WNBA champions had built up too much of a cushion, thanks in part to 21 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 steals from 2018 MVP Breanna Stewart.

Now 2-2 on the year, the Sparks will look to get back in the win column on Wednesday against the Indiana Fever.

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