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Sparks move into eighth playoff spot with win over Mystics

Layshia Clarendon Los Angeles Sparks Layshia Clarendon - Getty Images

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Layshia Clarendon scored 15 points, Dearica Hamby had a double-double and the Los Angeles Sparks moved into the eighth and final playoff spot with a 72-64 victory over the Washington Mystics.

The Sparks (16-21) snapped a three-game losing streak and moved a game ahead of Chicago after the Sky lost to the New York Liberty earlier Sunday. Chicago owns the tiebreaker with LA after winning three of four match-ups this season. Los Angeles won without star Nneka Ogwumike, who was a late scratch with a knee injury

The Mystics (17-20) would have clinched a playoff berth with a victory. Instead, they fell into a tie with Atlanta for the sixth playoff position. Washington also lost guard Kristi Toliver to a knee injury. She missed most of the season with plantar fasciitis.

Clarendon added six rebounds and three assists for the Sparks. Hamby totaled 12 points and 10 rebounds, while Jordin Canada scored 14.

Brittney Sykes scored six of her team-high 14 points in the first quarter to guide the Mystics to a 21-19 lead.

Los Angeles scored the first eight points of the second period and the Sparks took a 38-34 lead into halftime.

Elena Delle Donne hit a turnaround jumper with three seconds left to give Washington a 52-51 lead heading into the final period.

Katie Samuelson's three-point play gave Los Angeles a 60-58 lead with 5:09 left to play and the Sparks never trailed again.

The game was played at the Galen Center on the campus of the University of Southern California because of a scheduling conflict at Arena.

___ AP WNBA: