Brittney Sykes scored 17 points Thursday night, leading four players in double figures as the Los Angeles Sparks kept their WNBA playoff hopes alive with a 74-68 win over the Atlanta Dream in College Park, Ga.
Nneka Ogwumike added a 15-point, 10-rebound double-double for Los Angeles (12-19), while Te'a Cooper tallied 14 points and Nia Coffey came off the bench for 10 points and nine rebounds.
The Sparks are in ninth place, a half-game behind eighth-place Washington. They need the Mystics to lose at home Friday night against New York or they will be eliminated from playoff consideration. Washington owns the first tiebreaker after winning the season series, 2-1.
Tiffany Hayes led all scorers with 25 points, but didn't get enough help. Courtney Williams did add 13 points and 10 rebounds, while reserve Odyssey Sims hit for 11 points. However, Atlanta (8-23) converted just 38.1 percent of its field goal tries, including a pitiful 5 of 18 on 3-pointers.
Leading 60-58 with 4:39 left after Williams canned a 20-footer, Los Angeles went on an 8-2 spurt. Ogwumike had a long-range 2-pointer, a layup and a foul shot in the spurt that made it 68-60 with 50.4 seconds remaining.
Atlanta got off to a fast start, establishing a 13-6 lead just over five minutes into the game on a 3-point play by Hayes. But Los Angeles fought back, slicing the deficit to 21-20 after a quarter as Arella Guirantes canned a pullup jumper with 5.4 seconds left.
The Sparks clamped down on defense in the second quarter, limiting the Dream to 10 points. They started the period with a 12-2 run that gave them a 32-23 lead on Coffey's transition bucket and took a 34-31 advantage to intermission.
Los Angeles kept getting stops defensively in the first part of the third quarter, pushing the margin back to 49-41 when Coffey canned a long 3-pointer at the 2:33 mark. But Atlanta rallied, cutting the margin to 53-49 going to the fourth quarter.
--Field Level Media