The second semifinals ticket has been officially booked.
Defending champions Los Angeles Sparks beat the Minnesota Lynx 78-67 Sunday behind Candace Parker’s 24 points and 10 rebounds. Chelsea Gray added 16 points, six rebounds, and five assists.
The Lynx led 6-0 before Sparks coach Brian Agler called a timeout to reset the team’s defense. The Sparks then went on a 22-7 run and never looked back.
The Sparks defense was locked in throughout the entirety of the game. They’re 15-0 when holding opponents under 75 points. A big part of their success was the play of Alana Beard, who added to her case for Defensive Player of the Year by holding Maya Moore to 10 points on 4-of-11 shooting. After the game, Parker and Gray campaigned for her to win the award:
— WNBA (@WNBA) August 28, 2017
The Lynx got 17 points and 14 rebounds from MVP favorite Sylvia Fowles. Despite the loss, they did get some good news as Rebekkah Brunson was able to play, returning early from an ankle injury.
Brunson scored seven points and pulled down six boards in 19 minutes. The Lynx are still without point guard Lindsay Whalen, who is expected to return in the playoffs. Minnesota is 4-5 without her after starting the season 20-2.
The win improved the Sparks to 24-8 as the Lynx fell to 24-7. The Sparks are just half a game back of Minnesota for the number one seed. The Sparks won the tie-breaker with their win Sunday. They face the Atlanta Dream and the Connecticut Sun. The Lynx have three more games. They play the Indiana Fever, Chicago Sky, and the Washington Mystics. Both teams have clinched a double-bye into the best-of-five semifinals.