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Sky’s playoff hopes take a hit with loss in L.A.

LOS ANGELES — With center Sylvia Fowles, an Olympian and the WNBA’s second-leading rebounder, out for a third consecutive game because of a strained calf, the Sky dropped an 87-77 decision to the Los Angeles Sparks on Thursday night.

Swin Cash scored 19 of her 23 points in the second half for the Sky, and Epiphanny Prince had 19. The Sky (12-18) fell a game behind the New York Liberty for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Rookie Nneka Ogwumike scored a career-high 30 points and had 11 rebounds to help the Sparks move to two games ahead of the San Antonio Silver Stars for second place in the Western Conference with four games remaining. The top two teams get home-court advantage in the playoffs.

DeLisha Milton-Jones added 19 points for winners. Coming off a 1-4 trip, the Sparks improved to 13-1 at home and 21-10 overall.

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