On Tuesday, the LA Sparks suffered their fifth straight loss at home, falling to the Atlanta Dream, who were led by the astounding Angel McCoughtry.
Atlanta Pulls Away Late
The Atlanta Dream started the game off with an 8-2 lead, after McCoughtry and Tiffany Hayes sank two three pointers. However, the Sparks responded with a 9-0 run right after, seizing little momentum and taking a three-point edge.
Atlanta managed to get in front shortly before Riquna Williams hit back with a three-point-play in transition that put LA back ahead two. Shortly after, a couple of free throws from Essence Carson, gave the Sparks a slim 22-18 advantage heading into the frame.
Once again, Atlanta opened up the second quarter hot going on a 6-2 run. However, the Sparks were still able to stay in the driver’s seat, as they lead 28-26 with 6:23 left in the quarter. Carson sank a basket from behind the arc that put LA up by five.
Tiffany Hayes answered with her own three-point bucket to tie the game up at 33. Nevertheless, with only 25 seconds left in the second, Carson came through again, as she drilled a three pointer that gave the Sparks a 41-37 half time advantage.
The Dream came out firing on all cylinders in the third scoring four consecutive points which forced Brian Agler to call a time out. With all squared at 47, Maria Vadeeva hit a short jump shot that put LA into the lead with six minutes left to play in the third.
Monique Billings and McGee-Stafford scored a few baskets that gave Atlanta the lead once more. But Odyssey Simms nailed a big three-point attempt that put Los Angeles ahead by one. Candace Parker followed that up by drilling pair of free throws, which increased the Sparks’ advantage to two. However, Brittany Sykes countered with a long contested jumper that leveled the score at 60 going into the fourth.
At the start of the fourth the Sparks flipped the script and drilled two back-to-back baskets, which put them up four. When Atlanta pulled within one, Sykes drained an open three that would lead into a 13-2 run that sealed the victory.
Sparks Record Fifth Straight Loss at Home
Parker and Chelsea Gray will both be attending this weekends WNBA All-Star game. However, despite these stars on the roster, this young team is still struggling to find their rhythm.
Gray finished the game with 18 points and three assists, while Parker had yet another great night, ending it with 17 points, nine rebounds and five assists. However, it was not enough to beat a veteran Atlanta Dream team with WNBA All-Star Angel McCoughtry.
The Sparks GM, Penny Toler, said, “I don’t think the Sparks have ever lost five in a row at home.”
Parker added, “I don’t know, maybe we’re better on the road. I don’t know, but we can’t keep losing at home.”
Parker will also be looking forward to seeing improvements following the break, “I think playing consistent defense throughout the game, getting stops, and executing down the stretch.”
McCoughtry Gives the Atlanta Dream the Win
Finishing the game as the leading scorer McCoughtry led her team to victory on Tuesday.
“She’s one of the better players in this league. She’s tough to defend,” Agler said afterwards.
“She is a little unconventional in how she plays but sometimes that makes it a little more difficult because she’s unpredictable she really reads defenses well.”
McCoughtry was not alone, however, as three other Dream players scored more than ten points. With contributions from Hayes (12), Elizabeth Williams (12) and Sykes (13), you could say this was an all around team effort.
Every player on the Dream roster scored at least one basket for the Dream. Atlanta was also efficient in shooting. They made 49% of their attempts from the field and shot 30% from the three-point line.