The Los Angeles Sparks came in fighting for their playoff lives with only two games left in the regular season but simply had no answer for 2021 MVP Jonquel Jones.
Jones had 21 points and 10 rebounds to lift the Connecticut Sun to a 97-71 win over the teetering Sparks on Tuesday night at Crypto.com Arena.
With the loss, the Sparks moved to 11th place in the WNBA standings and one game out of a playoff spot while suffering their seventh defeat in eight games.
Brittney Sykes finished with 18 points to lead the Sparks and Nneka Ogwumike added 16. Jordin Canada added 15 points for Los Angeles.
“It’s playing with team in mind, not the individual,” Ogwumike said. “When things get hard, sometimes it’s easy to focus more so on what’s going on with my situation and that’s something I think we can be better at in this next game on Thursday and also on Sunday.”
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The Sparks will host the Sun again in a rematch on Thursday, facing the reality of must win games being key for any hopes of capturing a postseason berth.
“I’ve preached showing grace and I’m hoping that we can do that to each other, for us to be able to play as a team and not focusing on individual merits,” added Ogwumike.
Brionna Jones had 14 points while Natisha Hiedeman scored 13 for the Sun. Alyssa Thomas finished with 11 points, seven assists and four steals for Connecticut and DeWanna Bonner added 10 points.
Los Angeles started the game on a 10-2 run after Canada converted an and-one floating jump shot four minutes into the first period but the lead would quickly evaporate with the Sparks unable to make a comeback.
Connecticut closed the first on a 25-7 run to take a 27-17 lead through eight minutes of play, followed by ending the second period on a 15-0 run to capture a commanding 53-32 halftime advantage.
The Sparks hurt themselves by committing 20 turnovers on the night, along with losing the rebound margin 41-23 on the glass.
“It’s been the feeling all season. We want to win,” Sykes said. “We’re trying to get to the playoffs, fighting our asses off, on and off the court. It’s not really much to say other than we want to win and we know what we have to do to win. We just have to do it.”
The Sparks look to end its regular season facing the Sun again on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. followed by a matchup against the Dallas Wings on Sunday at 4:00 p.m.