Since Candace Parker returned to the Los Angeles Sparks at the end of July, she has seemingly willed the team to win games; however, the extra boost from Parker would not be enough to push the Sparks past their Western Conference foes, the Minnesota Lynx as they fell 72-64.
Four members of the Minnesota starting five ended the night with double figures. Maya Moore led all scorers with 20. Sylvia Fowles chipped in 15, and Rebekkah Brunson and Lindsay Whalen contributed 10 apiece. Nneka Ogwumike led the Sparks with 18 points.
The Lynx started out the evening strong and went on a 13-2 run that pushed them out to a 20-8 lead after the first quarter behind the stellar offense of Moore. Their defense was also a huge factor in their Sunday night win as they held Parker to just 10 points.
Parker would not score until the opening seconds of the second quarter. Despite the onslaught from Moore, Fowles, Brunson and Whalen, Los Angeles would continue to fight for the rest of the evening.
Ogwumike would make a series of key free throws and layups to help eliminate the Sparks' deficit. Parker would end the second quarter with four quick points and heading into halftime, Minnesota would only maintain a five-point lead.
The third quarter saw a defensive lock-down from Minnesota that would prevent the Sparks from waging a full-fledged comeback. Moore opened things offensively in the second half with two quick jumpers for Minnesota. While Jantel Lavender hit some key shots for Los Angeles, the team as a whole struggled to make many field goals. Time would run out before Los Angeles could ever gain an offensive edge.
Despite missing Seimone Augustus, who underwent arthroscopic knee surgery, the Lynx remain in first place in the Western Conference with a 16-6 record, and continue to be dominant at home with nine wins and only two losses. The Sparks have only won two games on the road this season.