WASHINGTON, DC — The Washington Mystics (6-5) got off to yet another slow start on Friday evening against the Los Angeles Sparks (7-2), and despite scoring 53 points in the second half, fell 97-86 for their fourth loss in the last five games. June simply has not been their month.
For the past two games, it looked like the Mystics had finally found a solution to the slow starts that plagued them at the start of the season, thanks to a starting line-up of Elena Delle Donne, Kristy Toliver, LaToya Sanders, Arielle Atkins, and Natasha Cloud.
But the Sparks were not having any of that. The 2016 champions got off to an 8-0 start, and led by as manly as 20 points late in the first half. The Mystics simply were outplayed in every facet of the game — in the first half, the Mystics shot 42.3 percent from the field and 28.6 percent from beyond the arc, compared to 65.8 percent and 75 percent from the Sparks.
The Mystics did have a second-half surge, thanks to some great play by their veterans—especially Sanders, who had all 12 of her points and 7 of her 11 rebounds in the second.
However, after Tierra Ruffin-Pratt tied the game at 76-76 with 5:58 left in the game, the Sparks quickly went on a 7-0 run, and the Mystics never got within five again.
In addition to Sanders’ impressive game, Elena Delle Donne led the Mystics with 18 points, four steals, and seven rebounds, Tierra Ruffin-Pratt had 14 points, and Ariel Atkins and Natasha Cloud both had seven points. Kristi Toliver was the assists leader, with eight on the day.
Candace Parker led the way for the Sparks, with 23 points, seven rebounds, and 11 assists, which tied her career high.