The Los Angeles Sparks ended the first half of the WNBA season on a six-game skid, including four losses by double digits
All slumping aside, the Sparks sit just one game out of the final playoff spot as they resume play on Thursday in Minneapolis against the Minnesota Lynx
To rookie guard Zia Cooke, cohesion remains key as Los Angeles resumes its quest to snap a two-year postseason drought.
"I just want us to stand for togetherness," Cooke said. "No matter what happens, we're going to stick together for the next half of the season. We're going to keep fighting the same way we did for the first half."
Los Angeles (7-13) is seeking its first win against Minnesota in four tries this season. The Lynx prevailed by five points on their home floor on June 11 before edging the host Sparks by five and six points, respectively, on June 16 and 20
Nneka Ogwumike, Los Angeles' top scorer (19.8 points per game) and rebounder (9.6 boards per game), led the Sparks in scoring in two of the previous meetings
Napheesa Collier has paced Minnesota in each game against the Sparks, averaging 25.0 points -- just above her season average of 21.9 per game
Collier scored a career-high 35 points on Tuesday, but it wasn't enough in an 82-73 road loss to Atlanta. Minnesota (9-12), which trailed by 22 points in the first half, trimmed the deficit to one in the fourth quarter, but was unable to keep pace.
"We needed more than Phee scoring the ball. ... We didn't get good opportunities in that moment where we battled all the way back," Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said
Dorka Juhasz matched a career best with 12 rebounds for the Lynx, who hold the seventh seed in the playoff picture as they prepare to begin a three-game homestand
Reeve hopes the team can recapture the defensive intensity it showed down the stretch against Atlanta.
"We cleaned some things up in the second half and defensively we gave ourselves a chance," she said. "We just can't dig ourselves in a hole like that."
--Field Level Media