LOS ANGELES (AP) —DeLisha Milton-Jones scored a season-high 22 points and Marie Ferdinand-Harris had eight of her 19 points in the final 2 minutes to lead the Los Angeles Sparks over the Minnesota Lynx 88-84 on Sunday.
Tina Thompson added 14 points for the Sparks (3-7). Candace Parker had 12 points and seven rebounds before leaving the game with an injured left shoulder with 2:55 left in the second quarter. Parker went to a hospital for evaluation.
“This team had her back,” Sparks coach Jennifer Gillom said of Parker. “I think it was pure determination that we won. We did a great job of winning this game for her.”
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Charde Houston scored 21 points for the Lynx (2-9). Candice Wiggins had 18 points, Rebekkah Brunson added 16 points and 15 rebounds and Seimone Augustus 16 points.
“They caused us some problems on the defensive end,” Augustus said. “They did a great job of going after hustle plays, loose balls, offensive rebounds, second-chance points. That’s the difference in the game.”
Parker, who injured her shoulder Friday night against Seattle, aggravated the injury while grabbing the rebound of Lindsey Whalen’s missed jumper.
“When she went out, it changed the dynamic of things,” Milton-Jones said. “I was able to get some looks on the inside. The same opportunities that she got, I was able to get.”
The Lynx, who once trailed by eight points, held an 82-79 lead when Ferdinand-Harris made two jumpers within 42 seconds to put the Sparks ahead 83-82 with 1:06 to play.
Ferdinand-Harris said she exploited the Lynx’s defense on screens to score 12 points in the fourth quarter.
“They were doing a good job in the first half of making the guards give the ball up,” Ferdinand-Harris said. “In the second half, that was as aggressive. So right off the screen, I was able to get into my shot and shoot.”
Augustus banked a 6-foot shot with 37.3 seconds left to give Minnesota an 84-83 lead. Ferdinand-Harris responded by converting four free throws in a 12-second span, as Los Angeles regained an 87-84 advantage with 17.8 seconds to go.
“Our backs are against the wall,” said Gillom, who said before the season that the Sparks had the talent to win the WNBA championship. “To me, our playoffs start now.”