Despite a stellar third quarter, the L.A. Sparks lost to the Minnesota Lynx 80-64 Saturday. The Sparks were down by 14 at the half and proceeded to outscore the Lynx 22-8 in the third, but it wasn’t enough as the Lynx dominated in the fourth to secure the win.
The Sparks just couldn’t buy a basket on Saturday night, a theme of their season. They shot 32.9 percent from the field and 34.8 percent from three. Meanwhile, the Lynx started the game red hot, shooting over 70 percent from three at the half. They ended the night shooting 50 percent from three, making 11 of 22.
The lone bright spot of the night was the third quarter, led by Amanda Zahui B., who is having a career year. Unfortunately, the Lynx were a bit too physical and a bit too experienced, especially in the fourth, to give the game away. Led by Sylvia Fowles, the Lynx outrebounded the Sparks and offensively overwhelmed them, winning the fourth quarter 23-7. This gives the Sparks their second loss in a row and puts the team back under .500 for the season.
The bench has to be better for the team going forward. At halftime, the Sparks bench was outscored 22-0. Things didn’t get much better in the second half, as the reserves ended the night with an abysmal two points. Yes, the Ogwumike sisters are out due to injury, as is rookie Jasmine Walker, but even so, you won’t win many games with a bench scoring two points.
It's not all doom and gloom for the Sparks, though. Zahui B. had 15 points and eight rebounds as she continues to shine for Los Angeles, and Te’a Cooper led all players with 17 points. Hopefully, both players can continue to excel as the Sparks get healthier.
With all the flagrant fouls, technicals, and overall chippiness of the game, it's safe to say the Lynx/Sparks rivalry is alive and well even if both teams are struggling to stay above .500. The Sparks will try to return to .500 on Wednesday when they play the Phoenix Mercury.