Sparks 101, Mercury 76

– Photo by Donald Barnat

Candace Parker puts one up over DeWanna Bonner. Parker finished with 26 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and four blocks. She shot for 11-18.

The Sparks never trailed in last night’s 101-76 win over the Mercury.

Mercury Coach Corey Gaines said after the game that Diana Taurasi, who didn’t make the trip with the team, will not play anymore games this season due to the same hip flexor injury she battled the first half of the season.

With the win, Los Angeles secures second place in the Western Conference, and home court advantage in the playoffs, which begin next week.

The game marked breast cancer awareness night, and the Sparks wore pink uniforms.

Post-game quotes:

Sparks Coach Carol Ross

On securing home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs…

I’m really proud of this team for positioning themselves through a long season for protecting home court and securing it in the playoffs. The only team that came in here that slapped us was San Antonio. We’re very respectful of what they bring, and couldn’t be happier for the team.

On the Sparks 15-1 home record…

The home record is something we talked about before the season started. We wanted to make Los Angeles a hard stop and protect the city. We wanted to make sure that we take care of our home first. It’s been something we’ve focused on.

On Breast Cancer Awareness Night…

Like I told the team before the game, this game isn’t about Phoenix. This is one game where we really shift our attention away from ourselves and our opponent, and it’s about representing the survivors. When you put on that pink uniform and those pink sneakers, it’s all about the people who have gone through breast cancer.

Sparks forward Candace Parker

On playing in the playoffs…

I don’t think you ever breathe easy in the playoffs. I don’t want to go home, especially in the playoff format, you don’t really have any time to stumble. We have a lot of confidence coming forward, and we have a lot of momentum going forward.

Sparks forward DeLisha Milton-Jones

On third quarter play for the Sparks…

We’ve improved our third quarter performances. That was a thorn on our side all year long. Every time we would play a team and we’d have a nice lead at half, come out in the third quarter and disintegrate. I think in the last few games we remedied that problem.

Mercury Coach Corey Gaines

On the third quarter play of the Mercury…

We ran out of juice a little bit, and they kept on scoring. We hit a couple shots, and got some momentum going into it, but we just couldn’t stop their momentum. I could only play three starters per quarter, and had to play subs, and we kind of dropped off a little bit.

Mercury forward DeWanna Bonner

On the play in the third quarter…

We made a couple turnovers. They were bad turnovers in transition, which led to their easy buckets. When you’re trying to come back on a team, you can’t afford turnovers.