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Sparks eliminated from WNBA playoffs with 96-64 loss to Mystics

Sparks eliminated from WNBA playoffs with 96-64 loss to Mystics
Mystics guard Elena Delle Donne (11) drives to the basket against Sparks guard Odyssey Sims during the first half Thursday in Washington. (Nick Wass / Associated Press)

Elena Delle Donne had 19 points and 12 rebounds to help the Washington Mystics rout the Los Angeles Sparks 96-64 on Thursday night in the second round of the WNBA playoffs.

Los Angeles and Minnesota — who have combined to win the last three WNBA titles — have both been eliminated from the postseason.

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Washington (23-12) will open a best-of-five series against Atlanta on Sunday, aiming for its first WNBA Finals appearance.

LaToya Sanders and Ariel Atkins each scored 14 points for No. 3-seeded Washington. The Mystics had 28 assists on 37 field goals, leading to six players in double-figure scoring.

Delle Donne made a baseline jumper to close a 15-2 run for a 21-13 lead and the Mystics extended it to 27-16 at the end of the first quarter. It was 50-29 at halftime and 75-46 entering the fourth.

It was a tough travel stretch for Los Angeles to end the year. The sixth-seeded Sparks closed the regular season at Connecticut, hosted defending champion Minnesota two nights later and returned to the East Coast in a four-day stretch.

Candace Parker scored 16 points for Los Angeles (19-16). Nneka Ogwumike and Chelsea Gray — part of the Sparks' top-three scorers — combined for 0-of-9 shooting in the first half.

The game was played at George Washington University's Charles E. Smith Center because the Mystics' regular home, Capital One Arena, is undergoing renovations.

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