Coming off of arguably their most impressive win over the weekend against the Minnesota Lynx, the Chicago Sky arrived at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Tuesday night looking to continue their success. To this point the Sky has been the only Eastern Conference team to beat the Sparks this season. The Sky defeated L.A. 94-82 on June 29 at home. With this win, it appeared that their goal of sweeping the series would go as planned, but as the final buzzer rang, the Sky found themselves just four points short of the win (76-80).
In a first half that saw 15 lead changes and four ties, the Sky and Sparks certainly played up to games hype. The Sky jumped out to a 5-0 lead to start. The Sparks missed their first four shots of the game, which didnt bode well for the hometown fans who were on their feet until the first basket fell.
Leave it to Sparks leading scorer Candace Parker to get her team on the board with a swift drive to the basket. The Sky maintained their 10-4 lead behind eight early points from Elena Delle Donne. However, the Sparks took their first lead midway through the first quarter on a layup by Parker to bring them ahead 11-10. The teams battled back and forth trading baskets and defensive stops through the remainder of the quarter. The Sky closed out the first quarter with a close 22-21 lead.
The Sky and Sparks continued seesawing throughout the second quarter taking a 34-34 tie back to the locker room at half time. Delle Donne, who had been in and out of the Sky lineup in the first quarter, left the game for good halfway through the second with an injury to her left foot.
The Sparks struck first in the second half. However, the Chicago Sky made their counter, going on a 14-6 run to take a 48-40 lead midway through the third quarter. Again, the Sparks came back on a 17-11 run to end the third, cutting the deficit to two going into the fourth. Tamera Young stepped in for sidelined teammate Delle Donne. Looking comfortable and energized, Young put up eight points for the Sky in the quarter.
Sparks Kristi Toliver sunk a jumper to start the fourth, also tying the game at 59. A steal and breakaway layup by Marissa Coleman put the Sparks ahead, but the aggressive play of Sylvia Fowles and Courtney Vandersloot brought the Sky back within two. A late Sky turnover and two Sparks free throws in the final minute sealed the deal for the Sparks.
Fowles led the Sky with 22 points and nine rebounds. Of her total points, 16 came in the second half. Vandersloot added eleven points and six assists while Young finished with 10 total points and five rebounds off the bench.
Parker led the Sparks with 18 points and seven rebounds while Toliver added 15 points, four assists, and four rebounds.
Next up, the Sky head north to take on the Seattle Storm on Thursday night. The game can be seen on WNBA LiveAccess at 9:00 p.m. CT. The Sky returns home on Sunday, August 18 as they take on the Connecticut Sun in a 5 p.m. CT tip off.