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Allisha Gray, Tina Charles propel Dream to 87-74 victory over Sparks

ATLANTA (AP) — Allisha Gray scored 25 points, Tina Charles added a double-double and the Atlanta Dream pulled away in the fourth quarter to beat the Los Angeles Sparks 87-74 on Sunday.

Gray made 9 of 14 shots from the floor, including 3 of 5 from 3-point range, for the Dream (6-6). She added three steals to help Atlanta snap a two-game skid. Charles finished with 20 points — also on 9-for-14 shooting — and 11 rebounds for her fifth double-double of the season.

Rhyne Howard pitched in with 16 points and five assists for Atlanta, but she made just 4 of 15 from the floor — 1 of 7 from beyond the arc. Aerial Powers added 13 points, six rebounds and three assists off the bench.

Rickea Jackson and rookie Cameron Brink led the Sparks (4-10) with 16 points apiece. Brink, the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s draft out of Stanford, added seven rebounds. Dearica Hamby was held to 10 points and eight rebounds, well below her season averages. Reserve Aari McDonald finished with 14 points and five assists.

Charles and Gray scored six points apiece to help Atlanta build a 20-14 lead after one quarter.

Jackson had a three-point play in the first minute of the second period to get the Sparks within three. Gray hit a 3-pointer, Charles followed with a layup and Atlanta took its largest lead at 43-32 with 71 seconds left. Brink answered with a 3-pointer, Kia Nurse made two free throws and McDonald hit from beyond the arc to cap an 8-0 run, pulling the Sparks within 45-40 at halftime. Brink led all scorers with 14 first-half points.

Charles hit 1 of 2 foul shots to give the Dream a 55-46 advantage with 5:03 left in the third quarter. Hamby scored off a rebound and added two free throws after a basket by Jackson, jump-starting a 15-1 run to put the Sparks up 61-56 a little over three minutes later. Gray sank a step-back jumper and Naz Hillmon added two foul shots to get Atlanta within 61-60 after three quarters.

Atlanta grabbed a 67-66 lead on a 3-pointer by Howard with 6:55 left to play. Gray sandwiched a layup and a 3-pointer around a basket by Powers for an eight-point lead and the Dream weren’t threatened down the stretch.

Atlanta beat visiting LA 92-81 to begin the season.

LA, in the midst of a seven-game road trip, heads north to play the Connecticut Sun on Tuesday. Atlanta hits the road to play the Minnesota Lynx on Wednesday.

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AP WNBA: https://apnews.com/hub/wnba-basketball

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