Harding’s Career High In Assists Lifts Sparks Over Mystics 75-57

WASHINGTON (AP) — Lindsey Harding had 11 points and a career-high 14 assists to lead the Los Angeles Sparks to a 75-57 victory over the Washington Mystics on Sunday.

Nneka Ogwumike added 22 points and 10 rebounds for the Sparks (13-7) in her sixth double-double of the season. Jantel Lavender scored 13 points, Marissa Coleman 11 and Ebony Hoffman 10.

Harding came within two assists of the league’s all-time record of 16, set twice by Ticha Penicheiro. Harding’s previous best was 10 (twice), and she had five previous eight-assist games this season.

Los Angeles won the first of four straight road games against Eastern Conference opponents despite missing team leading scorer and rebounder Candace Parker with a wrist injury for the second straight game.

Crystal Langhorne scored 23 points for the Mystics (9-12), who lost their third straight game and fifth in their last six. The Mystics failed to score 60 points for the second time in that six-game stretch, and their 15 turnovers marked a sixth straight game with at least 10.

The Sparks led by seven at halftime and pulled away thanks to a 19-2 run keyed by Harding that stretched across parts of the third and fourth quarters.

Harding hit two 3-pointers in the run and converted a three-point play on a leaner and foul shot to make it 62-39 opening the fourth.

She then found Ogwumike on an inside feed to make 64-39 and cap the stretch, Harding’s fourth assist during the game-sealing run.

Washington wouldn’t close within 20 until Langhorne hit a late 3-pointer for the game’s final field goal.

Los Angeles took a 33-26 lead into halftime after a first half filled with runs.

The Sparks rattled off a 21-2 run that made it 23-11 early in the second quarter before Washington responded with an 8-0 run and eventually closed to within 27-25 on Langhorne’s leaner.

However, Ogwumike hit two more inside baskets — both on feeds from Harding — to give the Sparks their seven-point lead at the break.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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