Seeding on line for Sun, Sparks in finale (Sep 2, 2017)

BY AP • September 2, 2017

LOS ANGELES -- Although the Connecticut Sun and Los Angeles Sparks wrapped up playoff berths weeks ago, there is still plenty for the teams to play for in Sunday's regular-season finale at Staples Center.

The Sun (21-12) are tied for first place in the Eastern Conference and for the WNBA's No. 3 playoff seed with New York after an 86-66 loss Friday night in Phoenix. The Liberty, which plays Sunday at Dallas, holds the tiebreaker against the Sun.

The Sparks (25-8) are just a game behind league-leading Minnesota. They defeated the Lynx 78-67 last Sunday to take two of three games in the season series and own the tiebreaker between the teams. Minnesota closes its regular season at home Sunday against Washington.

"We're just all going to be gearing up for playoffs now," Sparks coach Brian Agler said after last weekend's victory. "If we happen to get that top spot, we'd be happy. But our goal is to just finish off this regular season strong."

The Sparks won their sixth in a row Friday night, defeating Atlanta 81-56 as Candace Parker scored 15 points.

"I hope things are clicking going into the playoffs," Parker said. "I know that I have to be aggressive and assertive and I'm able to do that now. I'm healthy, moving well and I feel good."

The Sun went 7-2 in August to move atop the Eastern Conference. Second-year forward/center Jonquel Jones leads Connecticut in both scoring (15.5 points per game) and rebounding (11.9). She is five rebounds shy of tying Tina Charles' WNBA record for most in a season.

"I had confidence coming into this year that we had a lot of young talent," Sun general manager/coach Curt Miller said after his team wrapped up a playoff berth. "Knowing there were still some unknown pieces, it may have come a year earlier than I thought."

The Sparks won the two previous meetings against the Sun this season -- 87-79 on June 27 at Connecticut and 87-77 on July 13 in Los Angeles. The Sparks' Nneka Ogwumike is averaging 25.0 points in the season series.

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