Sparks miss chance to get to .500 with loss to Mercury

Sparks forward Nneka Ogwumike shoots a free throw.
Sparks forward Nneka Ogwumike, shown during a game earlier this season, had 19 points in a loss at Phoenix on Sunday afternoon.
(Kamil Krzaczynski / Associated Press)

Skylar Diggins-Smith scored a season-high 29 points on 10-for-16 shooting to lead the Phoenix Mercury to an 81-74 victory over the Sparks on Sunday.

Nneka Ogwumike had 19 points and seven rebounds to pace the Sparks (5-7). No other Sparks starter scored more than eight.

The Sparks trailed 21-18 after the first quarter and 43-40 at halftime before taking a 59-58 lead into the fourth quarter, getting outscored 23-15 to finish the game.


Brittney Sykes finished with14 points, four rebounds and three assists off the bench for L.A., while Chennedy Carter contributed 10 points and three assists.

The Sparks shot 49.2% (29 for 59) from the field and 31.3% (five for 16) from three-point range. The Mercury shot 45.8% (27 for 59) and 37.5% (nine for 24), respectively. The difference came at the free-throw line, where L.A. shot 11 for 16 compared with 18 for 20 for Phoenix.

Diana Taurasi finished with 19 points and seven assists for the Mercury (3-8), who ended a seven-game losing streak. Diamond DeShields had 11 points and Shey Peddy had 10 points and two steals.