LOS ANGELES — Candace Parker shot 7-of-12 from the floor and led three double-figure scorers Tuesday night to pace the Los Angeles Sparks to a 74-55 victory over the visiting Indiana Fever.
Parker was 6-of-10 shooting to score 12 points in the first half, leading the Sparks to the halftime lead it never relinquished. Chelsea Gray scored 14 points with a game-high seven assists and Nneka Ogwumike netted 12 in the win for Los Angeles.
Indiana enjoyed its largest first-quarter margin of the season, 18-13, and led 22-15 early in the second following a pair of free throws by Kayla Alexander. The Sparks, though, rallied with a 16-2 run to regain the lead and flip the 7-point margin in their own favor. Los Angeles clung to a narrow 35-33 advantage at intermission and never trailed the rest of the way.
L.A. scored 8 of 9 points to begin the second half and led by as many as 10, 47-37, as the spurt ballooned to 12 of 16. The Fever closed to six on several occasions, including 55-49 after three quarters, but never got closer.
Coming off their first win last Saturday, the Fever fell to 1-11 as the first-place Sparks improved their record to 9-2.
The loss overshadowed another double-double from Fever center Natalie Achonwa, who paced Indiana with 13 points and 14 rebounds. It was Achonwa’s fourth career double-double, all coming within the Fever’s first 12 games.
Achonwa helped the Fever to a remarkable +18 rebound margin (45-27), Indiana’s largest since 2007. But the Fever’s edge on the boards was negated by 17 turnovers the Sparks turned into 17 points. The Fever, meanwhile, scored just four points off turnovers and saw their offense stall in the fourth quarter while scoring just four points.
“I thought we were able to make [the Sparks] uncomfortable with our defense, but we got stagnant on offense,” said Fever coach Pokey Chatman. “We stopped cutting, we didn’t make adjustments and we didn’t reverse the basketball. Then we gave up 17 turnovers, we can’t afford to give away easy baskets.”
Giving credit to Achonwa, Chatman said, “she made her presence felt on both ends of the floor. I can’t give her enough credit for her hard work and her ability to grind.”
Tiffany Mitchell also reached double-figure scoring for Indiana, adding 10 points with five assists. Signed to a free agent contract on Sunday, Indiana newcomer Asia Taylor scored four points and added five rebounds in her Fever debut.
The Fever conclude a two-game West Coast trip Friday in Seattle, then return to Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Sunday to host Star Wars Night while playing the Connecticut Sun (6:00 p.m.).