Sparks tough out a victory over Chicago Sky

With less, the Sparks did more.

The team entered Wednesday’s game against the Chicago Sky (12-16) with an eight-player roster, missing Candace Parker, Betty Lennox — both injured — and Tina Thompson.

But the Sparks (9-17) came together and pulled off an 82-77 win at Staples Center in front of an announced crowd of 9,732.

“That just goes to show that the team with the most heart can win games, and I thought we played with heart tonight,” Sparks Coach Jennifer Gillom said.

The Sparks led by 10 points in the third quarter, but the Sky reduced the lead to 58-57 heading into the fourth. The Sparks never trailed in the final quarter, though their lead fell to one point three times in the last five minutes. But Kristi Toliver had 12 points in the fourth and DeLisha Milton-Jones made three free throws in the final 14 seconds to secure the win.

Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton stepped up with Thompson on bereavement leave after a close friend died. Wisdom-Hylton, who averages five points, had career highs in points (16) and rebounds (13). “There was a warrior thing going on,” she said. “We played great team ball.”

In fact, the Sparks finished with 26 assists, and Milton-Jones (22) and Marie Ferdinand-Harris (15) also scored in double digits.

The Sparks are half a game behind the Minnesota Lynx for a playoff spot. With three straight home games ahead, and Thompson back for Friday’s game against the league-worst Tulsa Shock, they are optimistic. “Even though we’re not large in numbers,” Milton-Jones said, “we’re big in spirit.”