Sparks' late rally falls short against Mystics

Sparks rally from 11 points down to start fourth quarter before falling, 79-75, to Mystics

Tierra Ruffin-Pratt scored a career-high 18 points and Monique Currie added 16 to lead the Washington Mystics to a 79-75 victory over the Sparks on Thursday night at Staples Center.

Los Angeles' season-best three-game winning streak came to an end.

Kia Vaughn, who had 14 points and nine rebounds for Washington (10-13), scored the go-ahead basket to make it 74-72 with 1:31 to play after the Sparks had made up a 14-point deficit.

Ivory Latta, who finished with 15 points, sank two free throws with 18 seconds left, and the Sparks' Kristi Toliver missed an ensuing three-point attempt.

Jantel Lavender, a fourth-year center who had missed the only three-point field goal she had attempted in her pro career before Thursday night, made a three-pointer with 3.3 seconds remaining to pull the Sparks within three, 78-75. But Currie made the second of two free throws with 2.3 seconds to play to put the game out of reach.

Lavender scored a season-high 23 points to lead the Sparks (10-12). Candace Parker finished with 18 points, seven rebounds and six assists for the Sparks while Toliver added 13 points.

Parker, who scored eight in the fourth quarter, pulled the Sparks into a tie, 72-72, by making two free throws with 1 minute 43 seconds left. She only made two of her first 11 shots and finished five for 16 from the field.

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