Jewell Loyd scored a game-high 25 points despite shooting just 1-for-9 from 3-point range as the Seattle Storm handed the host Los Angeles Sparks their third consecutive loss, 72-61 on Thursday.
Seattle (11-25) came in on a three-game skid and was eliminated from playoff contention, but the Storm jumped ahead early to hold an almost wire-to-wire lead.
Los Angeles (15-21) trailed by as many as 13 points in the third quarter but rallied to pull within a point on Rae Burrell’s 3-pointer midway through the fourth.
The Storm responded with a quick five consecutive points, all from Loyd. She wound up scoring nine consecutive Seattle points as the Storm went more than five minutes between points from any other player.
Kia Nurse bookended Loyd’s uprising, hitting a deep 3-pointer with 6:46 to go and making 1 of 2 free throws with 1:23 remaining, each time giving the visitors an eight-point lead. Nurse connected on another 3-pointer that sealed the outcome, pushing the Storm’s lead to 11 points with 1:06 left.
Nurse’s win-sealing basket came after a pair of offensive rebounds by Ezi Magbegor, who matched teammate Jordan Horston with a game-high eight boards. Horston added nine points, matching Nurse’s scoring total.
Seattle’s Sami Whitcomb finished with 14 points despite shooting 4-for-13 from the floor, including 2-for-7 from 3-point range. The Storm finished just 5 of 23 from deep (21.7 percent), but countered on defense limiting the Sparks to 20-of-66 shooting overall from the field (30.3 percent).
The Storm made 38.9 percent of their field-goal attempts.
Nneka Ogwumike led Los Angeles with 11 points, 8.3 fewer than her per-game average for the season. Ogwumike also grabbed a team-high seven rebounds.
Karlie Samuelson scored 10 points and Burrell added another 10 off the Los Angeles bench. The Sparks’ 61 points matched their season low, set in a June 20 loss to the Minnesota Lynx.
Los Angeles fell into a tie with the Chicago Sky for the final WNBA playoff position. The Sparks play just one more home game, Sunday vs. the Washington Mystics, before closing the regular season on a three-game road swing that concludes in Seattle.
–Field Level Media