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Brink leads defensive stand in final seconds of Sparks' win over Mystics

Juan Ocampo / National Basketball Association / Getty

LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Lexie Brown scored 20 points, rookie Cameron Brink led a defensive effort that three times did not allow a clear shot in the final possessions and the Los Angeles Sparks defeated the Washington Mystics 70-68 on Tuesday night.

With Los Angeles (1-2) leading 67-66, Washington had the ball and called timeout with 24.7 seconds left and nine seconds remaining on the shot clock. They did not get a shot off.

The Sparks then made 3 of 4 free throws and led 70-68 before the Mystics went to Shakira Austin in the paint for the chance to tie the score. Brink stripped her of the ball as she attempted to shoot, then Brink blocked the shot after the loose ball came back to Austin. With 0.3 seconds left, the Mystics inbounded to Austin again in the paint, but she did not get a shot off against Brink's defense.

The score was tied at 55 entering the fourth quarter, then Stefanie Dolson gave the Sparks the lead for good at 58-55 when she hit a 3-pointer with 9 minutes remaining. Los Angeles went on to lead 65-58 before the Mystics got their first field goal of the final period, a driving layup by Aaliyah Edwards with 4 1/2 minutes remaining.

Another layup by Edwards got Washington within 65-62 and a third layup made it 65-64 but she missed the and-one opportunity that would have tied the score with 2:06 remaining.

Los Angeles led 24-23 after one quarter, then the teams combined to score only 21 points in the second period. Washington took a 30-29 lead on a 25-foot 3-pointer by Julie Vanloo in the midst of an 11-0 run that covered six minutes of playing time. The Mystics led 36-32 at halftime.

Washington went on to lead 45-36 3 1/2 minutes into the third quarter, but the Sparks regained their shooting touch and tied it at 50 near the 2-minute mark of the period.

Brown's 20 points included three 3-pointers and she added six assists. Dearica Hamby had 17 points and 18 rebounds, and Kia Nurse scored 13. Brink, the No. 2 pick in the recent WNBA Draft, had four points and eight rebounds and was credited with four blocks.

Austin and Julie Vanloo, a 31-year-old rookie, each scored 12 points for Washington (0-4) and Edwards added 10. Vanloo had eight assists.

The Sparks played their first two home games in Long Beach and will return to Los Angeles to face Indiana and heralded rookie Caitlin Clark on Friday.



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