Coming into tonight's game, the Sparks had lost just three games all season. But the small ray of hope for the Mystics was that two of those losses had come in the previous two games, suggesting that just maybe the Sparks, having already clinched the playoffs, were easing off the gas going into the Olympic break.
No such luck, as it turns out.
The Mystics battled hard early, cutting a 17 point Sparks lead down to as little as 8 in the first half. But Sparks took no prisoners in the second half. The score was 75-49 by the end of the third quarter, turning the entire fourth into garbage time. The Mystics ultimately lost 95-75.
Emma Meesseman led the Mystics with 16 points on 7-12 shooting. The Mystics go into the break riding a seven game losing streak.
Candace Parker and Nneka Ogwumike were unstoppable
Parker put on a show, hitting ridiculous shots from all over the court and picking the Mystics defense apart with her passing. She ended the game with 18 points, five rebounds and a game-high six assists all in just under 25 minutes.
Ogwumike continued her MVP campaign with 24 points and 15 rebounds. She torched the Mystics over and over with backcuts and offensive rebounds, and shooting 6-7 from the field and 11-12 from the free throw line. While the Mystics did force Parker into difficult shots (most of which she made), they just couldn't keep track of Ogwumike as she dove to the rim.
The Mystics got crushed on the boards
L.A. is a big team and a long team, but the Mystics aren't exactly small either, with Meesseman, Stefanie Dolson, and Kia Vaughn all standing at least 6'4". But the box outs and the hustle were both lacking tonight. The Sparks won the rebounding battle by 32-18. No Mystics player had more than five rebounds.
Let's hope the long Olympic break helps the Mystics get back on track.