Sports

Sparks spot Aces first 14 points before rallying for 96-92 victory over two-time defending champions

LOS ANGELES — (AP) — Dearica Hamby finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds, Aari McDonald scored 16 off the bench and the Los Angeles Sparks beat two-time defending-champion Las Vegas 96-92 on Sunday night after the Aces scored the first 14 points of the game.

Hamby sank 6 of 10 shots with a 3-pointer and 5 of 6 free throws for the Sparks (4-7), who won back-to-back games for the first time this season. McDonald made 5 of 8 shots, two from beyond the arc, and all four of her foul shots. McDonald's effort helped the LA bench outscore Las Vegas' substitutes 40-17.

Rickea Jackson pitched in with 16 points and five rebounds for LA.

A'ja Wilson had 31 points — three above her league-high average — to lead the Aces (5-4), who have lost three of their last four games. Wilson has now scored at least 20 points in 14 straight games, breaking a league record set by Diana Taurasi of the Phoenix Mercury.

Wilson, who averages a league-best 12 rebounds, grabbed eight. Kelsey Plum hit four 3-pointers, scoring 24 with five assists. Tiffany Hayes added 17 points and Kate Martin scored 13.

Wilson scored the first five points and Martin and Plum hit back-to-back 3-pointers to cap a 14-0 run to begin the game for Las Vegas.

Hamby had the first basket for Los Angeles at the 6:48 mark. She added five points from there and McDonald scored seven as the Sparks whittled their deficit to 26-21 heading to the second period.

Los Angeles erased all of a deficit that reached 15 when Cameron Brink hit the first of two free throws, knotting the score at 28 with 6:27 left before halftime. Jackson made a turnaround jumper to give LA its first lead six seconds later. Martin had a layup and a 3-pointer to put the Aces up by three, but Hamby answered with a layup and the Sparks trailed 44-43 at intermission.

Wilson drew a technical foul with nine seconds left in the third period. That led to two free throws by Lexie Brown and a layup by McDonald, giving the Sparks a 74-65 advantage heading to the fourth quarter.

Hayes scored six points and Plum hit a 3-pointer and two free throws to cap a 17-4 run as Las Vegas took an 82-78 lead with 4:42 left to play. Jackson answered with a layup and Rae Burrell buried a 3-pointer to put the Sparks ahead for good.

Las Vegas continues to struggle without starting point guard Chelsea Gray, who is out with a foot injury.

The Aces beat the Sparks 89-82 in the first matchup this season in mid-May.

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AP WNBA: https://apnews.com/hub/wnba-basketball

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