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Mystics vs. Sparks final score: Washington goes cold in a controversial 79-76 loss

The game was a setback and the officials made several controversial calls.

Los Angeles Sparks v Washington Mystics Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

The Washington Mystics lost to the Los Angeles Sparks on Sunday, 79-76. Washington had less than 48 hours to prepare for this Sunday afternoon game coming back from Chicago late on Friday night after a blow-out loss to the Chicago Sky (although they only lost by 10, they trailed by over 20 for large chunks on Friday).

They have dropped to 5th overall in the ranking and were hoping to somehow regain a top-4 ranking (they were tied with the Storm with a 20-13 record) by what should have otherwise been a convenient game against the Los Angeles Sparks whom they’ve beat in L.A. quite easily 94-81.

Moreover, they were also going to having Delle Donne back after a DNP-rest on Friday. So everything was lined up for success. Yet, the Mystics still came up short against a team that had a 12-20 record coming into the game.

After a 19-19 first quarter, the Sparks got it going in the second quarter to open up an 8 point lead at half-time. The Mystics chipped away at the lead in both the third and fourth quarters but came up short. Once again the Mystics’ perimeter defense was not stellar, and their outside shooting was subpar at 3-of-15 from deep.

Yet, they still came very close in this one after Ariel Atkins buried two free throws with less than 36 seconds left to get within one: 77-76. Delle Donne then made a huge defensive play by both blocking a drive and getting the ensuing rebound. The Mystics then even had a full time-out to draw a play but that only produced a midrange jumper for Delle Donne that went out.

Washington still had a chance to tie the game when Natasha Cloud tried to force a foul while heaving a three, but it was waved off. It was the last controversial No-call of the game, after several other controversial calls that went against Washington.

Delle Donne played 28 minutes but untypically didn’t score in double digits, recording 8 points and 8 boards. Hines-Allen and Atkins made up for that with 20 each, and Shakira Austin added 16 but pretty much that was it as no other player scored more than 2 (!) points.

On the other hand, the Sparks 5 players in double digits, with Brittney Sykes dropping 21, Katie Lou Samuelson and Nneka Ogwumike each had 15.

The Mystics now drop to 20-14 for the season, further complicating their seeding struggles. They now travel to face the Indiana Fever on the road on Friday evening, which again on paper should be an easy assignment, which is actually part of a home-and-away as the Fever then play in D.C. next Sunday.

For the highlights click here.