The Sparks came up short against the Mercury Monday in game 3 of their best-of-three first-round series. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
It was a single point that kept Candace Parker and the Los Angeles Sparks from advancing to the Western Conference Finals last night in a gritty match against the Phoenix Mercury.
With ten seconds left Kristi Toliver set the screen and Parker hit the shot taking the Sparks up 77-76, giving them the 13th lead of the game and allowing themselves and the crowd a sigh of relief.
But the relief was short lived when Phoenix rookie Brittney Griner answered with a long two pointer taking the score to 78-77 Phoenix, and leaving just 4.9 seconds on the clock.
With the final possession of the game Parker was double-teamed and out of time,
“I just tried to dribble out of it and take a shot, because I knew there were just a couple seconds left,” she remembered glumly.
But she came up short and the Sparks were left, for the second year in a row, out of the Western Finals by a point.
“It’s hard because we put so much into this and I’m sick of always being on this podium talking after a loss,” said a disappointed Parker.
Last season, the Sparks were defeated on their home court by the Minnesota Lynx 80-79.
Toliver, who led the Sparks last night with 22 points and six rebounds said she wouldn’t change the team at all for next year.
“We have the pieces, we have the talent. We just have to get over the hump.”
Phoenix will advance to meet Minnesota in the Western Finals, Minnesota being the WBNA playoff favorite overall.