After losing the last two at home, the Sparks were in trouble early, down 11 and staring down the barrel of a third straight defeat. However, they were able to weather the storm and pulled off the seven-point victory, 89-82, thanks largely to Te’a Cooper’s career-high 26 points off the bench.
The Sparks had an incredible second quarter, scoring a season-high 32 points to end the half up 49-44. The game turned into a back and forth affair up until the closing minutes when the Sparks pulled away for good.
This was one of the best victories Los Angeles has had all season long. They got offensive contributions from throughout the lineup, with four players scoring in double digits. Three of those players came off the bench including Cooper’s team-leading, career-high 26 points. The bench mob was ferocious Thursday night outscoring the Mystics bench 53-8, which was needed with both Ogwumike sisters unable to play.
Good defense leads to good offense and the Sparks have consistently been able to turn turnovers into points. They are currently number one in the WNBA in scoring points off turnovers and they added to that lead against the Mystics scoring 33 points off of Washington’s 21 turnovers. The Sparks defense was suffocating the Mystics all night long. Late in the fourth quarter, with 1:25 left, Cooper forced a steal and scored a transition layup to extend the lead the Sparks lead to four. Then, with 32.8 seconds to play, Zahui B. made a key block on Tina Charles to ice the game.
With the defensive performance, the bench’s offensive onslaught, and the team winning a back and forth game, this was an all-around quality team effort. The Sparks are now 6-7 and will attempt to get back to .500 on Sunday when they play the Phoenix Mercury.