The Los Angeles Sparks used balanced scoring to beat the Indiana Fever 86-75, improving to 3-2 on the season on Wednesday night in Bradenton, Fl.
Candace Parker recorded her third double-double of the season with 18 points and 11 rebounds, Chelsea Gray had 16 points and Riquna Williams added 13 points for the Sparks.
“[Candace] kept them on their heels tonight,” Gray said. “Attacked the basket, got to the free throw line, and she really was a force to be reckoned with whether she was cutting, distributing, or just attacking the basket with the ball in her hands.”
Parker also made history playing in her 320th game as a Spark, passing Mwadi Mabika for third all-time in franchise history and trails only Delisha Milton-Jones (2) and Lisa Leslie (1).
“It goes fast. It’s an honor to play for one jersey my entire career so far. [I am] huge on loyalty and loyalty goes both ways,” Parker said. “I can’t imagine playing for another team. Obviously, there’s two legends in front of me, Lisa and DeLisha who have had a huge influence on my career at the start and even now. LA is a special place and I don’t want to play anywhere else.”
Kelsey Mitchell led Indiana with 24 points, Candice Dupree scored 16 points and Teaira McCowan had 13 points.
Los Angeles shot 48 percent from the field and held Indiana to 41. The Sparks (3-2) also had six blocks on the night while the Fever (2-3) had none.
“I thought the energy overall was much better,” Sparks coach Derek Fisher said. “It’s hard to play 40 minutes of your best basketball, but I do think we put together longer stretches of good basketball tonight than we had in previous games.”
Sparks forward Nneka Ogwumike suffered a mild hamstring injury in the second quarter and finished with four points and two rebounds in 13 minutes.
Los Angeles led 42-31 at halftime and took the game over the third quarter thanks to a 10-0 run capped off by a Parker lay-up. The Sparks went on to lead by as many as 21 points in fourth, ultimately holding onto to an 86-75 victory.
“I thought the intentions were good and we can continue to get better, but we did some really good things tonight on both ends that we can learn from as we move forward,” Fisher said.