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Dearica Hamby hits 3,000 points in Sparks’ loss to Lynx

Dearica Hamby hits 3,000 points in Sparks’ loss to Lynx

Los Angeles Sparks forward Dearica Hamby reached a career milestone in her team’s loss to the Minnesota Lynx when she scored her 3,000th point during Tuesday night’s game. Despite Hamby’s personal performance, the Sparks lost 82-67 to the Lynx at Crypto.com Arena, continuing a challenging season for the team.

Minnesota, which was without star forward Napheesa Collier for the second consecutive game, never trailed. The Lynx built a 15-point lead in the first quarter and extended it to as many as 25 as the game went on. Bridget Carleton led Minnesota with 16 points, while Dorka Juhasz set a season-high 15 points, effectively making up for Collier’s absence.

“Obviously a game where we were outmatched and better coached,” Sparks coach Curt Miller said after the game, as reported by Benjamin Royer of the Los Angeles Times. “That’s why Minnesota is one of the top three teams in the league right now — their execution, their pace, their screening and their physicality have been impressive all year.”

The Sparks, now 5-17, ended an eight-game losing streak with a win over the Las Vegas Aces last Friday, but have struggled to maintain that momentum.

Dearica Hamby was the top scorer between Sparks and Lynx

LA Sparks forward Dearica Hamby (5) throws the ball against Minnesota Lynx defender Natisha Hiedeman (2) and forward Alissa Pili (35) in the second half.
© Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Hamby was the leading scorer with 18 points, reaching her 3,000-point milestone, but Minnesota’s dominance was evident throughout the game. Hamby recognized the need for experienced leaders to set the tone early in games.

“I had to start with toughness and physicality from the beginning of the game,” Hamby said. “As a professional, you kind of learn on your own, but when you have to lead, I think I have to be more conscious of the tone I set from the beginning.”

The Lynx took control early, forcing Miller to take two timeouts in the first quarter when Minnesota’s Alissa Pili and Cecilia Zandalasin hit back-to-back three-pointers to put the Sparks behind 29-16. Despite cutting the deficit to five points in the second quarter, the Sparks finished the half trailing by 16 points and saw the gap grow to 25 points midway through the third quarter.

Sparks forward Azurá Stevens made her first start since returning from left arm surgery in March, scoring nine points and grabbing six rebounds.

“I feel good,” Stevens said. “It’s a shortened season, so I’ve been taking reps in practice. … I’m still getting used to the physicality of the game and getting my arm involved.”

The Sparks continued to struggle with turnovers, committing 18 turnovers that led to 22 points for Minnesota. The Lynx capitalized on their accuracy, hitting 50% of their shots from beyond the three-point line, while the Sparks struggled, hitting just 3 of 20 from beyond the arc.

“We’ve talked a lot about the difference between winning and losing here,” Miller said. “Our difference is different than a lot of other teams in this league. And that’s why you have to bring your toughness, your energy and your physicality – every night.”