Milton-Jones leads Sparks to 74-67 win over Sky
LOS ANGELES – DeLisha Milton-Jones scored 15 points to lead the short-handed Los Angeles Sparks to a 74-67 victory over the Chicago Sky on Saturday night.
Kristi Toliver had eight of her 11 points in the first half for the Sparks (15-19), who played without leading scorer and rebounder Candace Parker for the second straight night and closed the season with two straight wins.
"You want to leave the season with a good taste in your mouth," Sparks coach Joe Bryant said. "We played well the past two games. We played very good defense. I'm really happy about it."
Los Angeles had 25 assists on 29 field goals.
Sylvia Fowles had 18 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Sky (14-19), Dominique Canty scored 16 and Erin Thorn had 12. Fowles, who shot 6 for 12 from the field did not score in the fourth quarter.
Chicago concludes its season on Sunday against Seattle, and Sky coach Pokey Chatman was blunt about her outlook.
"After a loss, it's grim,"Chatman said. "I'm an honest coach. Seattle has a veteran team and they have playoff spot locked up. You play to maintain chemistry."
Natasha Lacy hit a free throw with 1:01 left in the third to give the Sparks a 52-51 lead, and they didn't trail again. Milton-Jones made a 3-pointer with 5:39 remaining to extend Los Angeles' lead to 65-55 and the Sparks finished 6 for 12 from beyond the arc.
Lacy, who finished with eight points, had seven in the fourth.
Parker, who missed 15 games earlier this season, sat out again after aggravating a right knee injury earlier in the week.
"When you look back on it, we probably had moments where we should have seized a lot of golden opportunities in front of us to write our own destiny," Milton-Jones said. "The cards just weren't in our favor. I think next year, whether we're here with the Sparks, we all know you have to seize those opportunities when they come."
The Sparks took a 34-33 lead into halftime after a 10-2 run in the second quarter capped by Jenna O'Hea's open layup off a steal by Lacy.
Chicago opened a 17-8 lead before the Sparks came back. Toliver scored eight of her team's 15 points in the first quarter, including a jumper during a 7-0 run that pulled the Sparks to 17-15.
Fowles passed Candice Dupree to become the Chicago's all-time leading rebounder. Rookie point guard Courtney Vandersloot set the Sky's single-season assists record with 124.