Sparks snap eight-game losing streak with thrilling overtime win against Aces (2024)

When the Sparks’ 10-point lead started to drift away in the fourth quarter Friday night, it seemed like deja vu of Tuesday’s loss. What were once deafening cheers from the stands became a quiet lull as the 13,840 fans at Crypto.com Arena watched the Las Vegas Aces come barreling back.

But the Sparks would not, could not, let Tuesday’s fiasco happen again.

It took 45 minutes, but the Sparks forced overtime and ultimately prevailed over the Aces on Friday night to snap an eight-game losing streak with a 98-93 overtime victory. It is their second win over Las Vegas this season after beating them in another close game in early June.

The game featured 15 ties and 17 lead changes, but the Sparks held on to win just their fifth game of the season.

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“They had their runs and we expected that but the difference from tonight and Tuesday is we stayed together,” Aari McDonald said. “We minimized their stops while also executing and scoring.”

Dearica Hamby led the Sparks with 28 points, 14 rebounds and four assists, posting her 13th double-double of the season. Aari McDonald had a career high 23 points while adding five rebounds and three assists. The Sparks shot 32 for 86 from the field but struggled from the free-throw line, hitting 23 of 32.

A’ja Wilson led the Aces with 35 points, 12 rebounds and three assists and Kelsey Plum contributed 21 points and four rebounds. Las Vegas shot 32 of 67 from the field to keep the game close.

Hamby is fired up every time she faces the Aces. She won a championship with Las Vegas before filing a discrimination lawsuit against the franchise, claiming she was bullied by Aces coach Becky Hammon after disclosing her pregnancy. Hamby was traded to the Sparks and following a league investigation, Hammon served a two-game suspension and the Aces lost their 2025 first-round draft pick.

“My teammates show up for me every time we play the Aces and it means a lot to me,” Hamby said during a postgame interview on Ion. “They know how much this game means to me.”

Sparks snap eight-game losing streak with thrilling overtime win against Aces (2)

Las Vegas Aces guard Kelsey Plum celebrates during the first half Friday against the Sparks.

(Ryan Sun / Associated Press)

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The Aces started out hot with a 7-0 run before the Sparks got on the board on a Hamby layup three minutes into the first quarter. The Sparks fell into foul trouble early on, with four team fouls in the first quarter, but quickly came alive after a Rae Burrell three-pointer. Despite Wilson’s 11 points, the Sparks were able to keep up with the Aces and trailed Las Vegas 24-21 after the first quarter.

Layshia Clarendon tied the score in the opening seconds of the second quarter, but it was back and forth from there, with five more lead changes in the second quarter. The Sparks limited Wilson to two points in the second quarter and ended the half with a monster 9-0 run to lead 46-36 at halftime.

The Aces got into foul trouble in the second quarter, with seven team fouls helping the Sparks.

After Wilson opened the third quarter with points off of a Hamby shooting foul, Stephanie Talbot responded by adding six points in the first two minutes to maintain the Sparks lead. McDonald continued the momentum by scoring five during a 7-0 run to extend the Sparks’ game-high 12-point lead. McDonald scored 10 of her 23 points in the third quarter.

The Aces weren’t fazed, closing the gap in the fourth with a 7-0 run to pull ahead 75-74 with 5:44 left in the contest. The Sparks stayed in the game, however, despite a technical foul on Sparks coach Curt Miller. After Wilson put the Aces up 84-82, Talbot hit a crucial field goal with three seconds left to tie the game 84-84 and force overtime.

Sparks snap eight-game losing streak with thrilling overtime win against Aces (3)

Sparks guard Layshia Clarendon, center, drives against Las Vegas Aces guard Tiffany Hayes, left, and center Megan Gustafson during the first half Friday.

(Ryan Sun / Associated Press)

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“She is so underrated,” Rickea Jackson said of Talbot. “She’s been playing her butt off since entering the starting lineup. She’s been the glue that we needed keeping us together and staying composed, doing the little things that don’t show up on a stat sheet.”

A Burrell shooting foul gave the Aces the first points of overtime, but it remained a tight game. With the score tied at 90, Clarendon put the Sparks ahead for the first time in overtime and after a missed shot by Gray, Hamby added three points with 24 seconds left to give the Sparks a 95-90 lead.

Las Vegas’ Jackie Young hit a three-pointer with 20 seconds to close the gap at 95-93. After a Kiah Stokes shooting foul, Hamby had the chance to seal the game but missed both free throws. It didn’t matter, however, as McDonald made both of hers off an Alysha Clark foul with eight seconds left.

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After a personal foul by Chelsea Gray, Clarendon put the game away by hitting one of two free throws in the final seconds.

“I’m super proud of this group tonight,” Miller said. “They just played with a toughness and grittiness from start to finish. Another fourth quarter lead disappeared but this is what you talk about with a young team, you just have to keep putting them back in that situation. The games don’t stop so it’s back to work tomorrow.”

The Sparks continue their homestand against the Phoenix Mercury on Sunday at Crypto.com Arena.

Sparks snap eight-game losing streak with thrilling overtime win against Aces (5)

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Sparks snap eight-game losing streak with thrilling overtime win against Aces (2024)

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