Te’a Cooper had a career-high 26 points, Amanda Zahui B added 17 and the Los Angeles Sparks overcame a double-digit deficit to beat the Washington Mystics 89-82 on Thursday night at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
The Sparks (6-7) had lost four of their last five games coming into the night but were able to snap the Mystics (7-7) three-game winning streak with a big win.
Leilani Mitchell scored 26 points, making six three-pointers on the night for Washington, Tina Charles had 25 points and 10 rebounds.
“I believe this group has showed a great deal of character and fight, and really trying to battle through everything,” Sparks Coach Derek Fisher said.
Cooper scored eight points in the first quarter and helped the Sparks overcome an early 11-point deficit, as LA closed out the period trailing 23-17.
The second-year guard undoubtedly led the Los Angeles bench unit and helped the Sparks outscore the Mystics 53-8 in bench points.
“Whether I scored 26 or two or whatever, I just want my energy here,” Cooper said. “I want to leave a court saying I gave my all. So, that’s what really matters to me.”
The Sparks scored a season high 32 points in the second quarter. Los Angeles went on a 31-17 run and shot 59.4% from the field in the first half.
“I thought we did a really good job in the second quarter of driving, attacking the paint,” Fisher said. “And then kicking it out to open teammates for good quality shots and so I thought that quarter really turned the momentum of the game.”
The Sparks were without Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike due to knee injuries, but LA had key scoring off the bench and took advantage of the Mystics’ mistakes all night.
Sparks guard Karlie Samuelson had a career-high 13 points and connected on a three at the buzzer to give the Sparks the 49-44 halftime lead. Brittney Sykes finished with 14.
“Karlie Samuelson’s impact on the game is tremendous,” said Fisher.
Los Angeles Lakers star forward Anthony Davis was in attendance cheering on the hometown Sparks and the team did not disappoint.
The Sparks forced 21 turnovers on the night and created 33 points off the Mystics’ miscues.
LA led 67-66 at the end of the third period after Samuelson stayed hot and went 3-for-3 from the three-point line in the period.
In the fourth, Sykes scored five straight points to give Los Angeles a 79-74 advantage with four minutes to play. Zahui B. then had the play of the game and recorded her third block of the game, swatting Charles’ 3-point attempt in the corner with 33.9 seconds left to lift the Sparks to an 89-82 victory.
The Sparks will next travel to Phoenix to take on the Mercury at 3 PM on Sunday, June 27.