Napheesa Collier scored a game-high 25 points while leading the Minnesota Lynx to a 77-72 victory over the Los Angeles Sparks on Friday night, June 16. 2023 (Courtesy Photo)

Napheesa Collier led the way with a game-high 25 points, Kayla McBride had 16 and the Minnesota Lynx defeated the Los Angeles Sparks 77-72 on Friday night at Arena.

The Lynx improved to 3-7 on the season with the win, while the Sparks fell to 5-5 with the loss.

Los Angeles made six 3-pointers in the first half and led 43-34 at halftime but relinquished a 10-point lead after being outscored 43-29 in the second half.

“Some of the same stuff that bothered us in Minnesota continued to bother us and that’s the frustrating part,” Sparks coach Curt Miller said. “We tried to get a few things corrected and the same few things bothered us again.”

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Jordin Canada led the Sparks with a career-high 22 points and five assists while Dearica Hamby added 14 points and nine rebounds. Nneka Ogwumike finished with eight points and seven rebounds, making only 2 of 9 attempts.

“As you can see with the boxscore, I’ve had some good games against them. … So I don’t really feel like I was insulted,” said Canada who played all 40 minutes. “I don’t really care what other teams do against me or how they decide to guard me. I’m very comfortable, confident in my abilities.”

Sparks rookie top-10 pick Zia Cooke made her first career start and had five points. Lexie Brown was unable to play due to a non-COVID illness as Los Angeles was without its second-leading scorer.

“What we talked about is no one’s gonna feel sorry for us, we’re not the only ones in this league right now with a lengthy injury list and an injury report,” Miller said.

Minnesota outscored Los Angeles 24-14 in the third to retake a 58-57 lead after Rachel Banham made a three-pointer with 25 seconds left.

The Lynx capped a 10-2 run to take a 63-57 lead early in the fourth quarter only before Canada responded with back-to-back baskets to get within one at 65-64 with 6:05 remaining.

Los Angeles stayed close until the end as Ogwumike made a layup to bring the Sparks within two at 74-72 with 50 seconds left.

Dorka Juhász split a pair of free throws on the next possession to take a 75-72 advantage for the Lynx and Ogwumike missed a jumper with 23.5 seconds left as the Sparks were unable to score from there.

“We just had breakdowns tonight … at times we did not execute the coverages that we were in,” Miller said.

The Sparks will look to bounce back as they host the Lynx again in a rematch on Tuesday at 7:00 p.m.