Without Candace Parker and Nneka Ogwumike, the Los Angeles Sparks struggle as Dream Coach Michael Cooper records his 200th WNBA win.
After clinching a playoff spot Sunday in a 92-73 win over the Tulsa Shock, the Los Angeles Sparks came into Tuesday’s matchup against the Atlanta Dream resting both Candace Parker and Nneka Ogwumike.
Despite being eliminated from the playoffs, the Atlanta Dream played as if they were gearing up for the postseason rolling past the Sparks in a 90-60 victory.
With the win, Atlanta coach Michael Cooper became the fifth coach in WNBA history to win 200 games.
“I didn’t even know it, but it’s a great feeling. Obviously we were down because we didn’t make the playoffs, but this was a great win for us” said Cooper after the game.
With Parker and Ogwumike on the bench, the first quarter belonged to Angel McCoughtry and the Atlanta Dream. McCoughtry dropped an incredible 15 points to propel the Dream to a 26-11 first quarter lead.
After a hot start in the first quarter, the Dream cooled off in the second, but their defense held strong holding the Sparks to only 25 first half points. Atlanta’s defense forced Los Angeles to turn the ball over nine times in the first half. They went into halftime with a 44-25 lead.
Angel McCoughtry had three steals in the first half putting her career total over 500.
“I’m just having fun right now trying to get teammates involved and get some chemistry for next year,” said McCoughtry.
The second half was eerily similar to the first. The Dream came out of halftime firing on all cylinders, using a balanced attack and solid defense to keep a significant lead the entire game.
While the Dream’s offense and defense were both solid, it was their dominance of the boards that allowed them to control the game. Atlanta had an incredible 54 rebounds compared to the Sparks 28.
Angel McCoughtry led all scorers with 23 points. Sancho Lyttle and Damiris Dantas both had double-doubles for the Dream in the victory.
Jantel Lavender had a Sparks team-high 14 points, and Ana Dabovic added 13 points and 8 assists. Los Angeles has one regular season game remaining before they face the number one seed in the West, the Minnesota Lynx, in the playoffs.