The Los Angeles Sparks are on a mission and have overcome myriad obstacles to post a 14-1 record — the best mark in the history of the WNBA after 15 games.
Standing in the Sparks' way is the Atlanta Dream, who will be putting the final touch on a 6,000-mile, three-game road trip on Thursday at Staples Center.
The Sparks have won three straight since dropping a 72-68 decision at home to the Minnesota Lynx on June 21.
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The Dream frittered away a late lead Tuesday against the Seattle Storm and lost their fourth straight game.
The Sparks, on the other hand, celebrated an emotional 89-84 victory against the Dallas Wings on Tuesday.
Down by 22 points in the third quarter, the Sparks turned up the heat and earned the win against the Wings.
On the day her college coach at Tennessee, Pat Summitt, died, Candace Parker recorded a double-double (31 points, 13 rebounds) to lead the Sparks. Parker, who wore orange shoes with the word “rebound” written on them, scored 25 second-half points to spark the comeback.
The Dream (8-7) will have their hands full as they try to bounce back from Tuesday's disheartening 84-18 defeat to the Storm. In that game, they led by four late in the fourth period, but were outscored 7-0 in the final 1:22.
The Dream were unable to stop Seattle rookie Breanna Stewart, who scored 38 points — tied for the most by a player this season. And now Atlanta must contend with the high-scoring Sparks duo of Nneka Ogwumike and Parker.
Ogwumike set a WNBA record with 23 consecutive made field goals from June 7 through June 14, spanning three games. The former Stanford star leads the WNBA in field-goal percentage at .681.
The Sparks average 85.9 points per game. Ogwumike leads the team with 17.1 points per game. Parker at 16.3 and Kristi Toliver at 14.7 also average double figures in scoring.
But it is defense where Los Angeles excels. The Sparks give up only 72.7 points per game — the best in the league. Only the Chicago Sky (twice) and Dallas have cracked the 80-point barrier against the Sparks this season.
Atlanta averages 83 points per game but are averaging only a shade over 75 points in their past four games.
The Dream will rely on Angel McCoughtry, who leads the team in scoring (20.1). The seven-year veteran had a streak of 29 consecutive double-doubles snapped in the loss to the Storm. She scored 22 points but pulled down only seven rebounds.
Tipoff for Thursday's game is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET.