Ruffin-Pratt's Career Night Propels Short-Handed Sparks
ATLANTA - The Sparks got a career-high 23 points points and six 3- pointers made from Tierra Ruffin-Pratt to help the team pull away late in Atlanta with a 78- 66 win. The Sparks trailed 65-63 midway through the fourth quarter, but ended the game on a 15-1 run to earn their win. The team scored 32 fourth quarter points, the most the team has scored in a quarter all season.
The game marked the Sparks 12th road game compared to just seven games played at Staples Center. No WNBA team has played as many contests away from home. The Sparks are now 6-6 on the road and 5-2 at home. The Sparks were also short-handed again, playing without Candace Parker (ankle), Alana Beard (hamstring), Riquna Williams (league suspension), Maria Vadeeva (knee) and Alexis Jones (knee).
Sydney Wiese scored the first Sparks basket with a 3-pointer, but the Sparks shot just 31.8% in the first quarter on 7-for-22 shooting. Jessica Breland hit three jumpers in the opening period, including a triple, to lead the way for Atlanta with seven points. The Dream led 17-16 after the first quarter.
A Tierra Ruffin-Pratt triple tied the game at 23-23, which ignited a 10-3 run that saw the Sparks take a 30-26 lead after a Chelsea Gray drive. But the Dream answered with a 6-0 run to close the half and take a 32-30 lead into the locker room.
Atlanta started the second half on a 4-0 run to force a timeout from Derek Fisher with the Dream leading 36-30. Tiffany Hayes, who missed the past two games with a hamstring injury, was called for a technical foul after gesturing to referee Jenna Schroeder after she was whistled for fouling Chiney Ogwumike. A Ruffin-Pratt 3-pointer, which followed the Sparks connecting on all three foul shots, tied the game at 36. Ruffin-Pratt added two more triples to give the Sparks a 44-38 lead, but Atlanta responded with a 13-2 run to go up 51-46 after three quarters.
Ruffin-Pratt opened the scoring in the fourth quarter with her career high fifth 3-pointer of the contest. She'd hit her sixth to give her a new career high in points, previously set on June 23, 2015 as a member of the Washington Mystics against the Sparks. A Nneka put-back gave the Sparks a 58-57 lead. The game seesawed back and forth until a Chelsea Gray 3-pointer gave the Sparks a 66-65 lead and a Nneka 3-pointer put the Sparks up 71-66 with 1:45 remaining. Chiney scored an and-one to put the Sparks up 74-66 with 1:11 to go and the team never looked back.
Up Next: The Sparks are on break for the 2019 WNBA All-Star game in Las Vegas on Saturday July 27. Chelsea Gray will be starting in the contest, her third All-Star appearance, and Nneka Ogwumike will be an All-Star for the sixth time. The Sparks next game will be Aug. 1 at home against the Aces.
- The Sparks were without Candace Parker (ankle), Alana Beard (hamstring), Alexis Jones (knee), Maria Vadeeva (knee) and Riquna Williams (suspension)
- Nneka Ogwumike reached double-figures for the 15th time this season and crossed the 20-point mark for the 7th time this season with 24 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists
- Chelsea Gray reached double-figures for the 13th time this season with 10 points and 6 assists
- Tierra Ruffin-Pratt reached double-figures for the sixth time this season and made a career high five 3-pointers to finish with 23 points
- Tierra Ruffin-Pratt set a new career high with 23 points. Her previous career high was 20 points set on June 23, 2015 as. A member of the Washington Mystics against the Sparks.
- Chiney Ogwumike reached double-figures for the 12th time this season and recorded her fourth double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds
- The Dream were without Angel McCoughtry (knee)
- Tiffany Hayes, who missed the past two games with a hamstring injury, started and played
- Tiffany Hayes reached double-figures in scoring with 15 points
- Monique Billings scored in double-figures with 16 points and 8 rebounds
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