Sparks’ rally comes up short in 83-74 loss to Mystics


Kristi Toliver scored 18 points to help the Washington Mystics beat the Sparks 83-74 on Saturday for coach Mike Thibault’s 300th career regular season win.

Thibault is the first WNBA coach to reach that milestone. Sparks coach Brian Agler is second all-time with 264.

LaToya Sanders added 14 points and eight rebounds while Elena Delle Donne and Ariel Atkins scored 11 points apiece for the Mystics (12-6). Washington has won six of its last seven games.


Toliver, who hit all of her 13 free-throw attempts, made two foul shots to spark an 8-2 spurt that gave the Mystics a 74-66 with two minutes left after a jumper by Natasha Cloud. Chelsea Gray hit a 3-pointer to pull the Sparks within five with 1:18 remaining, but Washington made 9 of 10 free throws from there to seal it.

Gray led the Sparks (12-8) with 23 points and Nneka Ogwumike had 22 points, 13 rebounds and five assists. The Sparks have lost five of their last six. The Mystics shot just 41 percent, including 1 of 16 from 3-point range, but made 32-of-35 free throws.