It hasn’t been pretty, but the Los Angeles Sparks have put together a three-game winning streak since the Olympic break to improve to 9-13. They are just a half a game out of playoff position.
On Thursday night, Nneka Ogwumike (17 points, seven rebounds, four assists, three steals) rebounded a missed Kristi Toliver three and put back a layup with 0.1 seconds left to give the Sparks a 66-64 win over the Atlanta Dream at the STAPLES Center. N. Ogwumike was standing behind Atlanta’s Aari McDonald and Crystal Bradford in the middle of the paint when Toliver’s shot hit the back rim. The ball then hit off the left side of the rim and N. Ogwumike caught it on the right side of the basket unguarded.
The Dream nearly completed a furious comeback. They went on an 11-2 run from 5:21 left in the fourth until N. Ogwumike’s final basket. McDonald hit a triple that cut the Sparks’ lead to three with 1:06 to go and Bradford followed with a trey of her own that tied the game at 32 seconds remaining.
Brittney Sykes did her part for LA with nine points, eight boards and two steals while Toliver finished with 10 points and five helpers.
Courtney Williams posted 23 points, 11 rebounds and four assists in defeat and McDonald added 15 points and three assists. The Dream fell to 6-16.
Phoenix Mercury (12-10) over Washington Mystics (8-13), 77-64
Brittney Griner notched her third 30-point game of the season and added 12 rebounds and five assists as Phoenix improved to 3-0 after the break.
The Mercury were down four after one and five at the break before winning the second half 38-20. Skylar Diggins-Smith returned from an ankle injury and backed up Griner with 17 points and four helpers.
Tina Charles had 17 points and six boards in defeat. The Mystics were held to 28 percent shooting from the field.