June 01, 2014

The Los Angeles Sparks have hit a speed bump down the stretch of their amazing first half of the regular season.

The Sparks, who won 20 of their first 21 games, have lost two straight heading into Friday's road contest against the reeling Washington Mystics at Verizon Center.

Los Angeles dropped a 92-82 decision at the Indiana Fever on Tuesday, two days after being blown out by the Atlanta Dream, 91-74.

The Sparks have surrendered 90-plus points in three straight games. They'll be looking to lock down the Mystics, who have lost six straight and are struggling on the offensive end of the floor.

"We aren't consistent at all," Mystics coach Mike Thibault told the Washington Post this week. "The biggest thing is I just don't want somebody to play harder than us. We're not shooting the ball well particularly. Our guards are struggling with consistency. The other night, our guards as a group shot 17, 18 percent. You have no chance of winning when you're playing like that."

The Mystics have lost three straight games against the Sparks, including both meetings this season.

Los Angeles star Candace Parker scored 26 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and dished out nine assists in the Sparks' 93-82 win over Washington on July 10.

Parker is averaging 16.3 points, 7.2 rebounds and 5.0 assists on the season. Forward Nneka Ogwumike is having a breakout season for the Sparks. She leads the team in both scoring (19.4) and rebounding (9.0).

All-Star Emma Meesseman leads the Mystics in points (15.7) and rebounds (5.7).

Washington is coming off an 88-81 home loss to the New York Liberty on Wednesday. The Mystics surrendered a WNBA-record 69 points to the Liberty's bench. Meesseman had 20 points to lead the Mystics in defeat.

Friday's game concludes the first-half of the regular season for both teams. They will not play again until late August, after the Summer Olympics conclude.

The first-place Sparks have a one-game lead over the defending-champion Minnesota Lynx in the Western Conference standings.

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