Sparks can't hold off Mystics' late surge, extend losing streak to eight games

Despite holding a 12-point lead after three quarters and a season-best night by Stephanie Talbot, the shorthanded Sparks couldn’t hold off the Washington Mystics in the final minutes Tuesday night at Arena. The Sparks lost 82-80, extending their losing streak to eight games.

The night was also highlighted by the announcement Sparks forward Dearica Hamby was named to the 2024 WNBA all-star roster for the third time in her career. The 2024 WNBA all-star game will be held at Footprint Center in Phoenix on July 20.

During her second start of the season, Talbot put up a career-high 17 points, eight rebounds, three assists and three steals. Aari McDonald also scored 17 points, her second most of the season, and delivered six assists. The Sparks shot 28 of 60 from the field while the Mystics shot 23 of 67. Miyisha Hines-Allen led Washington with 16 points, seven rebounds and four assists, while Julie Vanloo contributed 15 points.

The Sparks got off to a hot start to the game, something they have struggled to do this season, and continued to lead until the final minutes of the game. Talbot opened the contest with a three pointer from deep, while rookie Rickea Jackson led the Sparks with seven points and two assists in the first period. Jackson ended with 12 points, five rebounds and four assists.

While the Sparks led by as much as eight in the first half, the Mystics quickly closed the gap in the final minutes of the second quarter to tie the game 36-36. However, a Sparks 5-0 run put them back on top 43-38 to end the half.

Talbot ended the half leading with 12 points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals on three-for-three shooting from three-point range.

The Sparks’ momentum continued with an 8-0 run to open the half, with five of those points coming from Jackson, to extend their lead to 13 points. The Sparks continued to dominate the paint and led by 12 entering the last period.

But the Mystics were not done yet, going on a 12-0 run to open the fourth quarter, closing the gap to 66-64. After Jade Melborne tied the game at 66 each, the Sparks began to play with urgency.

Despite back-to-back plays by McDonald and multiple free throw opportunities, the Sparks lost their lead for the first time with 2:30 left in the game and trailed 75-74. Despite a three pointer by Hamby at the buzzer, the Sparks could catch the Mystics.

The Sparks continue a three-game homestand against the Las Vegas Aces on Friday at Arena.

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