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Down 15, Sparks rally behind Parker's 26 and 11

The Washington Mystics had a comfortable double-digit lead over the Los Angeles Sparks, and then something happened, that changed the direction of the game: Candace Parker.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off a two-game losing streak, the hungry Mystics looked unstoppable in the first half while a two-game winning streak seemed out of reach for the Sparks.

The game-changer tonight: Candace Parker. After taking two months off this season including missing the previous Sparks-Mystics matchup, Parker led her team with 26 points, 11 rebounds, and 6 assists, her 12th double-double of the season, tied with teammate Jantel Lavender.

The Sparks started out slow with four turnovers in the first quarter and going into an exciting second quarter down by six.

Washington did not let up in the second, rushing momentum, moving the ball, and finding easy baskets while Los Angeles struggled to react on defense. With sixteen of their thirty-three points coming off the bench and allowing just one turnover, the Mystics found themselves with a 15-point lead, the highest of the game.

Just under three minutes left in the second, Washington's Ivory Latta flopped against Candace Parker, causing the referees to call an offensive foul on Parker and a technical foul on an upset Coach Brian Agler. Latta made her free throws forcing a score of 46-33 and the Mystics with possession.

A big change in momentum for the Sparks came with under a minute to go in the second, as Lavender passed it to Parker, who threw an unbelievable overhead pass behind her to Nneka Ogwumike who scored, closing the gap to 48-41.

With under 30 seconds to go, Latta responded with a deep three, creating a 10-point deficit. However, Ogwumike would make two free throws and Washington's Tayler Hill answered with a layup to close the half, taking back the 10-point lead, 53-43. The Mystics' 53 points are the most the Sparks have given up at the half this season, with 49 as their previous number.

Washington went into the half with 18 assists, 6/7 in 3-point shooting, and 18 points coming off the bench, double than what the Sparks were producing, except for their impressive two turnovers.

Both teams played a slow third quarter, with Washington taking poor shots and missing big 3-pointers.

Los Angeles picked up the pace and was able to close the gap to just four points behind the Mystics. With a few of Washington's missed shots and Los Angeles' 9-3 run, including an impressive show by Parker, the Sparks went into the fourth quarter trailing by four.

The Mystic's Emma Meesseman opened up the fourth with four points in just four seconds.

Lavender nails her first free throws of the night, tying the game for the first time, 74-74. Los Angeles' Alana Beard grabs a rebound to Parker, who hit a layup taking the lead for the first time since the score was 2-0.

As Parker and her team pick up the tempo with a 23-7 run, Washington lost its composure with multiple turnovers and missed shots.

A foul on Latta's three-point attempt by Los Angeles' Kristi Toliver, results in her hitting all three free throws, which brought the struggling Mystics to within one of Los Angeles' 90 points.

However, in the waning seconds, Latta missed a game-tying three-pointer with three seconds left, and Meesseman grabbed the offensive rebound, but had a quick lapse of judgement, as she went right back up with a layup, instead of kicking it back up for a three, creating an angry Coach Mike Thibault.

Parker is fouled and scores one free throw to make ultimately the final score 93-91.

Along with Parker leading the team, Ogwumike had 24 points, 10 rebounds, 1 assist, and went 14-15 at the line.

The Mystics started hot and kept it close with the help of Meesseman with 19 points, 8 rebounds and one assist and Latta's 18 points, two assists, and going 5-5 at the line.

While Washington could not maintain that fire, Parker, and Los Angeles persevered and took their second victory in a row and a step closer towards playoffs.