Chelsea Gray scored a season-high 24 points and Candace Parker had 14 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists to help the Los Angeles Sparks beat the Phoenix Mercury 78-75 on Sunday.
Parker hit a free throw midway through the second quarter to become the 20th player in WNBA history to score 5,000 career points.
Her jumper gave the Sparks (17-11) a 6-4 lead and they led the rest of the way. Her layup with four minutes left in the first half capped a 17-2 run and gave the Sparks a 17-point advantage and Nneka Ogwumike’s 3-pointer made it 45-30 early in the third quarter.
Diana Taurasi, who had four fouls in the first half, hit a 3-pointer late in the third quarter to ignite a 10-2 run that pulled the Mercury (16-13) within one when Briann January made a 3 with 8:29 to play and Leilani Mitchell’s 3-pointer trimmed their deficit to 74-72 with 1:21 remaining. Gray hit a jumper and, after DeWanna Bonner hit three free throws for Phoenix, added two free throws with 12 seconds left to cap the scoring. Brittney Griner led the Mercury with 22 points. Bonner added 20 points and nine rebounds.