– The Lynx made the opening basket at Staples Center on Thursday night, and then it was all downhill from there.

Playing for the first time since July 24, the Lynx never led again, suffering their worst loss of the season, 79-57 at the hands of the Los Angeles Sparks.

The Lynx scored fewer than 60 points for the second time this season. They had season lows for points, points in a quarter (eight in the first) and points in a first half (29). And they made only one three-pointer (on 10 attempts).

Sylvia Fowles was the only Lynx player to score in double figures. She had 14 points after missing her first five field-goal attempts of the game.

Maya Moore, fresh off her All-Star Game MVP performance, had just eight points — two after the first quarter. Lindsay Whalen went scoreless.

Coach Cheryl Reeve yanked her starters early with another game on tap Friday night at first-place Seattle.

The loss ended a three-game winning streak and dropped the Lynx (15-11) into fourth place in the WNBA standings with eight games to go in the regular season. This was the first of five in eight days in five cities.

Reserve Erlana Larkins left the game late in the fourth quarter with an apparent right knee injury.

The Sparks (16-11), back at full strength with the return of starters Alana Beard and Nneka Ogwumike, ended a five-game home losing streak. They had lost six of their past nine overall.

Candace Parker entered the game averaging 23.3 points, 10.0 rebounds and 6.7 assists in her past six games, and she continued that strong play against the Lynx. She had 23 points — 16 in the first half — and 10 rebounds.

Chelsea Gray had 18 points, nine assists and five rebounds for the Sparks.

Beard missed four games because of a groin injury, and Ogwumike missed three games because of an illness.

The Sparks won the series from the Lynx 3-1 and improved to 28-9 all-time against the Lynx at home.