Looking for consistency, Mercury and Sparks meet

Syndication: Arizona RepublicMercury guard Diana Taurasi (3) makes a layup past Wings center Teaira McCowan (15) during a game at the Footprint Center in Phoenix on Saturday, May 25, 2024.

The Los Angeles Sparks or host Phoenix Mercury will look to get a much-needed win when the Western Conference rivals meet on Sunday night.

The Mercury (3-5) are trying to end a four-game losing streak, with three of those losses coming by at least 15 points. The Sparks (2-5) have fallen in three of their past four games, but the losses have totaled by 16 points.

Phoenix first-year coach Nate Tibbetts was looking for answers after his team stumbled out of the gate and never recovered Friday, losing 95-71 to the host Minnesota Lynx. The Mercury trailed 55-31 at halftime, but were able to match the Lynx the rest of the way.

“For whatever reason we weren’t ready in the first half. I need to prepare us better to play,” Tibbetts said. “We responded, but unfortunately it’s a tough road if you’re not ready. I like what I saw in the second half, there was more of the Mercury style of basketball that we want to play.”

Phoenix gave up 25 points off its 17 turnovers for the game.

Kahleah Copper, the league’s third-leading scorer at 24.3 points per game, led the Mercury with 21 points, while Diana Taurasi added 14.

Phoenix played its third game in four days.

The Sparks should be more rested as they haven’t played since losing 83-73 to the host Chicago Sky on Thursday. Los Angeles was outrebounded 35-33, with the Sky getting 13 boards on the offensive end.

“I think the O-boards were momentum killers,” said center Dearica Hamby, who had 24 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Sparks. “We really talked about limiting them. We know they’re pretty elitist about that. And I think once we were in range, we let that go a little bit.”

Los Angeles trailed by 21 with 5:18 left in the third quarter, but had to cut the deficit to nine points several times in the fourth.

Hamby is sixth in the league in scoring (20.6 points per game) and leads the WNBA in rebounds per game (12.7). She enters Sunday with a chance to continue a historic streak as she becomes the first player in the league to amass seven straight regular-season games of at least 17 points and nine rebounds.

–Field-level media