Candace Parker leads Sparks past Mercury, clinch West’s No. 2 seed
Los Angeles, CA, United States (4E Sports) – The Los Angeles Sparks clinched home-court advantaged for the first round of the playoffs with Candace Parker leading the way with 26 points and 11 boards en route to a 101-76 trouncing of the Phoenix Mercury Tuesday night.
It clinched the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference standings for the Sparks (23-10).
Parker, who led all five Sparks starters in double-digit scoring, also had seven assists and four blocks.
Alana Beard added 22 points on 9-of-13 shooting and finished with six of the Sparks’ 12 steals.
Kristi Toliver had 17 markers, while DeLisha Milton-Jones and Nnemkadi Ogwumike each scored 12 for Los Angeles, which shot 51.3 percent overall, including 69.2 percent from beyond the arc.
The Sparks forced Mercury into committing 19 turnovers. It translated to 28 points for the Sparks, who dominated scoring in the paint 50-46.
Phoenix, which shot 41.7 percent in the game, was paced by DeWanna Bonner, who had 23 points and six rebounds in her return from a back problem that kept her out for two games. Bonner ranks second in the WNBA with 20.9 points per game.
Candice Dupree, who also returned to the Mercury’s starting line-up after undergoing left knee surgery on July 24, finished with just six points on a 3-for-4 shooting in 14 minutes of play. Dupree is averaging 14.8 points per game, which is second on the Mercury.
Krystal Thomas had 14 markers and 11 boards in the loss, Phoenix’s fifth in a row.
It was the ninth straight victory at Staples Center for the Sparks, who are expected to exploit their success at home as they proceed into the playoffs. LA is 15-1 on their court this season, with its only blemish coming from San Antonio.
The Sparks wrap up their regular season Friday against first-place Minnesota.