The Los Angeles Sparks will look to end a stretch of five straight losses and eight in 10 games when they visit the Atlanta Dream on Friday night at College Park, Ga.
The slump has seen the Sparks (12-19) drop into 10th place in the WNBA with just five games remaining. Only the top eight make the playoffs.
Atlanta (13-18) is tied for seventh place with the New York Liberty. The Phoenix Mercury (13-19) sit in ninth place, just ahead of the Sparks.
Los Angeles lost back-to-back games to New York earlier this week to open a four-game road trip. The journey closes Sunday afternoon against the Washington Mystics.
The Sparks were routed 102-73 by the Liberty on Tuesday before falling 64-61 the following night.
Nneka Ogwumike scored 19 points on Wednesday to move into 20th place on the all-time scoring list with 5,137 career points. She passed Swin Cash (5,119), who will be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in September.
Ogwumike, who leads Los Angeles in scoring (18.6) and rebounding (6.7), doesn’t plan to wave the white flag on the Sparks’ season.
“There’s still a chance,” Ogwumike said. “That’s really the only thing, that we can kind of recover from this.”
The Dream halted a four-game slide with a 91-81 home win over the Indiana Fever on Wednesday.
Rhyne Howard scored 20 points as Atlanta was victorious for just the third time in its past 10 games.
Despite the recent bumpy road, the Dream are a much-improved team in Tanisha Wright’s first season as coach after going 23-65 over the previous three seasons.
“Any time you have the chance to start from the ground up, you have a chance to put your stamp on things,” Wright said recently.
Howard has been a force as a rookie and leads the team among qualifiers with a 15.7 scoring average. She has scored 20 or more points on nine occasions.
Howard has reached the 20-point mark in four of the past six games and is averaging 19.5 during the stretch.
Atlanta could be without Tiffany Hayes (right ankle) for the second straight contest.
The teams split the first two meetings this season. Howard had 21 points and eight rebounds as the Dream posted a 77-75 home win on May 11, while Ogwumike scored 20 on 9-of-11 shooting on July 21 as the host Sparks prevailed 85-78.
–Field Level Media