Playoffs are on the horizon and the LA Sparks sit with the third seed in the standings. The Washington Mystics, playing for their playoff lives showed their hunger and will to keep their playoff hopes alive, defeating the elite Sparks 80-72.
“Their fighting for their lives, and we didn’t play as if we were,” said Chelsea Gray leading the Sparks in scoring with 21 points.
Thursday night’s loss doesn’t affect the sparks playoff berth, but losses close to the playoffs especially to teams that should be easily taken care of are frustrating for the Sparks.
“It was definitely a game that we wanted to win, but we didn’t,” said Head Coach Derek Fisher. “We have to be adult enough to accept that as the reality now, we can’t change it. But what we can do is adjust the way we approach any game going forward… Hopefully [this game] serves as a strong reminder that we can’t ever allow any opponent to outwork us, and still expect us to win.”
Myisha Hines-Allen had her fingerprints all over the contest for the Mystics scoring 30 points along with 8 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals. The Mystics simply outplayed the Sparks on the offensive end shooting 50% from the field, while LA shot 41%.
MVP candidate Candace Parker attempted only 9 field goals scoring 9 points with a season-high 17 rebounds. Parker owned up to her offensive and defensive woes understanding this play is unacceptable if wanting LA wants to contend for a title.
“When I play aggressive on the defensive and offensive end were better. I’ll take this one and I can tell you it’s not going to happen again. I can’t play like that if our team is seriously going to compete for a championship, that’s on me.”
Heading into halftime the Sparks led by 6 points, 45-39. Washington shifted in another gear during the second half outscoring LA, 41-27. The third quarter was tough for the Sparks getting outscored 23-12 alone in the quarter.
“As talented as we are, nobody’s talented enough to show up and win,” said Fisher. “Washington was able to work harder than us for stretches of this game that allowed them to come out on top. Hopefully, it serves us as a strong reminder that we can’t let any opponent outwork us and still expect to win.”
A positive outcome from the game was Sparks guard Seimone Augustus scoring her 6,000 career point, becoming just the 10th player in WNBA history to reach that milestone.
“It speaks to the career that she’s had,” said Gray. “I’m glad she was able to do that in a Sparks uniform, but it speaks to the type of player she has been throughout this whole journey and throughout the league. Her accolades speak for themselves, to be able to do this tonight, I’m glad we were able to share this moment with her.”
Sparks play their final game of the regular season on Saturday, Sept. 12 against the Las Vegas Aces.