The Los Angeles Sparks know they're headed to the playoffs, but they likely won't let up.
The WNBA's hottest team aims for a 10th consecutive victory when they try to complete a regular-season sweep of the Minnesota Lynx on Monday night at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
Los Angeles (12-3) became the third team to clinch a playoff berth this season after pulling out an 84-79 win over pesky Atlanta on Sunday night. Brittany Sykes had 15 points and Chelsea Gray (13.7 points per game) scored 14, while Candace Parker (13.5 ppg, 9.4 rebounds per game) pulled down 10 rebounds for the Sparks, who trailed by one at half but turned things up in the second half.
The Sparks' current winning streak is their longest run since opening 11-0 in 2016. One of the big reasons for Los Angeles' success has been its stellar depth. Especially a bench that totaled 37 point against the Dream.
"That's the difference for all great teams, is being able to have players on your bench that teammates can trust and coaches can trust," coach Derek Fisher told the Sparks' official website.
One of those players is Riquna Williams (10.6 points per game), who scored 21 points off the bench during a 97-81 win over Minnesota on Aug. 9. Former Lynx star Seimone Augustus added 13 points in her first game against her former team, as Los Angeles outscored Cheryl Reeve's squad 31-20 in the fourth quarter.
In Monday's rematch, these teams will be playing on back-to-back nights after this contest, originally scheduled for last Wednesday night, was boycotted as part of the league's response to the unrest and violence following the recent shooting of black 29-year-old Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis.
On Sunday, Minnesota (10-5) lost for the second time in three games after winning three in a row, 83-79 to Phoenix. The Lynx were down 33-18 after one quarter and trailed 68-53 early in the fourth quarter. However, they made things interesting with a 12-2 run that got them within five points.
That would be as close as Minnesota would get, but rookie Crystal Dangerfield scored 15 of her 20 points in the final period. Napheesa Collier (15.8 ppg) scored 13 for the Lynx.
Dangerfield should be one of the frontrunners for WNBA Rookie of the Year while averaging 15.8 points. She's totaled 43 points in the last two games and averaging 19.8 points over the last six contests. Dangerfield also recorded a season-high 29 points in this season's loss to the Sparks, while Collier was held to 10.
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