The Los Angeles Times reports:

The Sparks have fired Jennifer Gillom as coach and replaced her with assistant coach Joe Bryant, the team announced Sunday.

The coaching change was made after the Sparks fell to fifth place in the six-team Western Conference with a record of 4-6. They have lost five games in a row, their worst skid since 2007. Three of those losses have come after 2008 WNBA most valuable player Candace Parker suffered a knee injury in a June 26 game; she is expected to be out about six weeks. Parker played in just 10 games last season after needing surgery on a dislocated left shoulder.

“This was a very difficult decision, but I felt it was necessary to take the team in a different direction at this point in the season,” Sparks General Manager Penny Toler said in a statement.

Bryant, a former NBA player, was first hired by the team as an assistant under Henry Bibby in 2005. Bibby was fired with five games remaining in the season, and Bryant took over as coach. He went 4-1 and the Sparks finished with a 17-17 record.