Sparks put themselves in early hole in 79-69 loss to San Antonio
After allowing the biggest second-half comeback in WNBA history Sunday evening, the Sparks vowed they would regroup.
Then they opened Monday’s game against San Antonio shooting one for 12 from the field.
So much for redemption.
The Sparks could never quite recover from the hole and fell to the Silver Stars, 79-69, in front of an announced crowd of 8,818 at Staples Center.
After scoring the first basket of the game, the Sparks never led again.
“We started very slowly,” Sparks Coach Joe Bryant said. “I was expecting us to play with a little more enthusiasm, a little more energy.”
The Sparks were down, 42-32, at halftime, a margin that would have been much larger had they not scored nearly half of their points from the free-throw line, making 14 of 18.
Their shooting improved in the third quarter and they went on a 10-3 run to reduce the deficit to two at 57-55 heading into the fourth quarter after Jenna O’Hea made a three-pointer.
Natasha Lacy made a driving layup with 8:27 remaining to bring the score to 61-60. Then the Silver Stars showed why they have the best road record in the league and went on a 10-0 run.
“In the second half we were a lot better,” O’Hea said. “But we still got a lot of improvement to make.”
Reserves Jantel Lavender and Natasha Lacy led the Sparks with 14 points each. O’Hea had 12 points, including four-of-five shooting from the three-point line.
The Sparks’ starters scored only 15 points. Veteran Tina Thompson, the all-time leading scorer in the WNBA, played less than five minutes and was held scoreless for the first time in her 413-game career.
San Antonio’s victory puts them ahead 2-1 in their series. San Antonio beat the Sparks, 90-80, on June 24. The Sparks won July 12, 84-74.
That Sparks, who are 6-8, leave on a four-game trip July 26.
Since Joe Bryant was promoted to head coach July 10, the Sparks have won two road games and lost two home games.
“It’s crazy that we’re playing better on the road than we are at home,” Bryant said with a forced smile.
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