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Sparks Fall Short Against Minnesota Lynx – Los Angeles Sentinel | Los Angeles Sentinel

Sparks forward Neka Ogumike (30) scores 23 points against the Minnesota Lynx (Amanda Scurlock/LA Sentinel)

After a fourth quarter rally, the Los Angeles Sparks fell to the Minnesota Lynx 84-77. Sparks guard Brittney Sykes led the late effort, helping the team overcome a 20-point deficit by scoring 13 points in the closing stages.

Forward Nneka Ogumike led all scorers with 23 points and center Chini Ogumike had six rebounds. Lynx Moriah Jefferson scored 22 points and forward Jessica Shepard grabbed 10 rebounds.

While the Sparks had just seven turnovers and worked to get second chance points, they shot 36.1 percent for the game while the Lynx shot 54.4 percent.

“We’ve got to learn more just to be real selective when the game gets a little tight when the lead goes to the opponent,” interim head coach Fred Williams said. “The turnover percentage, I feel good … we just didn’t take advantage of them because we didn’t put the ball in the basket.”

Sykes struggled to score early in the game, but found his offensive rhythm as the game progressed. Her latest bout with COVID-19 made her rethink her role and abilities. Assistant trainer Seimone Augustus gave her another chance to compete. Sykes believed the Sparks had a chance to win the game.

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“I ended up doing stupid things in the game all three quarters with my team and they don’t deserve that performance,” Sykes said. “I know I can play harder and not feel sorry for myself and I can always get it back.”

Sykes ended up scoring 15 points in the contest. Guard Chenedy Carter came off the bench and scored 10 points. It’s her third double-digit scoring performance since returning from injury.

“I think the way she plays forces us to be a little quicker and forces us to make quicker decisions and think about how we can score when she’s out there,” Nneka said. “Having him there really helps us figure out how we can score in transition.”

Sykes noted how Carter has developed over the course of the season.

“As a quarterback, I’m glad to have her on my team,” Sykes said. “It puts a lot of pressure on your defense and your principles.”

Before the announcement, the Sparks honored the career of Lynx center Sylvia Fowles, who will retire at the end of the 2022 season. Her teammates fed her the ball often, helping her score eight points by the end of the first quarter. She ended up with 16 points, nine rebounds and three assists.

The Sparks remain in playoff contention in eighth place. They will head to the East Coast to play the New York Liberty on August 2nd at 4:00 PM PST.

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