Sparks forward Nneka Ogwumike (30) scored 23 points against the Minnesota Lynx (Amanda Scurlock/L.A. Sentinel)

After a fourth-quarter rally, the Los Angeles Sparks fell to the Minnesota Lynx 84-77. Sparks guard Brittney Sykes spearheaded the late effort, helping the team battle from a 20-point deficit by scoring 13 points in the final phase.

Forward Nneka Ogwumike led all scorers with 23 points and center Chiney Ogwumike made six rebounds. Lynx Moriah Jefferson scored 22 points and forward Jessica Shepard made 10 rebounds.

While the Sparks had only seven turnovers and worked to get second-chance points, they shot at 36.1 percent during the game while the Lynx shot at 54.4 percent.

“We have to learn more of just being real selective when the game gets a little tight when the lead goes to the opposition,” said interim head coach Fred Williams. “The turnover rate, I feel good about … we just didn’t capitalize on them because we didn’t put the ball in the basket.”

Sykes struggled to score early in the game but found her offensive rhythm as the game progressed. Her most recent bout with COVID-19 caused her to overthink her role and abilities. Assistant coach Seimone Augustus allowed her another chance to compete. Sykes believed that the Sparks had a chance to win the game.

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“Ultimately, I have been doing dumb stuff in the game all three quarters with my team and they don’t deserve that performance,” Sykes said. “I know that I can play harder and not feel sorry for myself and I can always get it back.”

Sykes ultimately made 15 points in the contest. Guard Chennedy Carter came off the bench to score 10 points. This is her third double-digit scoring performance since she returned from injury.

“I think the way she plays forces us to be a little bit quicker and forces us to make quicker decisions and to think about how we can score when she’s out there,” Nneka said. “Having her out there, it really helps us understand how we can score in transition.”

Sykes noted how Carter has developed over the season.

“As a defender, I’m glad she’s on my team,” Sykes said. “She puts a lot of pressure on your defense and your principles.”

Prior to tip-off the Sparks honored the career of Lynx center Sylvia Fowles who will be retiring at the end of the 2022 season. Her teammates fed her the ball often, which helped her score eight points by the end of the first quarter. She ultimately scored 16 points, nine rebounds, and three assists.

The Sparks remain in playoff contention at eighth place. They will head to the east coast and play against the New York Liberty on August 2 at 4:00P.M. PST.