Connecticut edges Sparks in competitive game

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The Sparks pushed the first-place Connecticut Sun connected Thursday earlier falling, 76-72.

L.A. trailed conscionable 74-72 aft Erica Wheeler’s pugnacious layup with 28.8 seconds to go, but aft Jonquel Jones scored with 18 seconds near the Sparks couldn’t answer.

The Sun (19-6) won their seventh consecutive crippled and improved to 12-1 astatine Mohegan Sun Arena – wherever they’ll big the Sparks again Saturday successful the 2nd crippled of a two-game set.

L.A. (10-15) mislaid its 2nd consecutive crippled contempt a season-high 18 points from Nia Coffey disconnected the bench. Nneka Ogwumike (13), Wheeler (13 points) and Brittney Sykes (11) each scored successful treble figures for the Sparks, who recovered from a 10-point opening 4th to marque it a competitory contest.

It proved a carnal and comparatively adjacent matchup: The Sparks changeable 27 for 57, the Sun changeable 26 for 60. From 3-point range, L.A. was 5 for 16 and Connecticut was 4 for 16. The Sun’s largest lead? Twelve points. The Sparks went up by arsenic galore arsenic nine. Turnovers, too, were close: The Sparks had 16, the Sun committed 15.

The host’s advantages came connected the boards, wherever they outrebounded L.A., 30-23, and astatine the free-throw line, wherever they were 20 for 25 compared with the Sparks’ 13 for 14 tally. Nneka Ogwumike played 31 minutes and was called for 5 fouls but didn’t instrumentality a escaped propulsion Thursday. In 196 minutes since returning from injury, the erstwhile WNBA MVP has attempted conscionable 5 escaped throws, a root of vexation with the team.

The Sparks person 8 regular-season games remaining. After Thursday’s loss, they’re successful ninth spot and a half-game retired of playoff position.

More to travel connected this story.

At shootaround up of tonight’s crippled successful Connecticut, @Chris_Camello asked the Sparks’ Nneka Ogwumike for her thoughts astir the deficiency of fouls she’s drafting (she’s taken 5 FT successful 165 minutes since returning from wounded — spot story).

Her response:

— Mirjam Swanson (@MirjamSwanson) August 26, 2021

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