Moriah Jefferson scored 22 points on 9-of-14 shooting to help the Minnesota Lynx notch an 84-77 victory over the host Los Angeles Sparks on Sunday.
Sylvia Fowles added 16 points on 8-of-9 shooting and collected nine rebounds for the Lynx (12-19), who won their second straight game. Kayla McBride scored 15 points and Rachel Banham added 10 for Minnesota.
Nneka Ogwumike scored 23 points and Brittney Sykes added 15 for Los Angeles (12-17), which has dropped three straight games and six of its last eight. Chennedy Carter and Katie Lou Samuelson tallied 10 points apiece for the Sparks.
The result tightened the battle for the eighth and final playoff berth. Los Angeles still holds the spot but is just a half-game ahead of the Atlanta Dream, a full game in front of the Lynx and New York Liberty.
Minnesota shot 54.4 percent from the field, including 6 of 11 from 3-point range. Jessica Shepard grabbed 10 rebounds to help the Lynx hold a 38-29 edge on the glass.
Los Angeles made 36.1 percent of its shots and was 6 of 25 from behind the arc.
Jefferson scored five points during a 7-0 fourth-quarter run that saw Minnesota open up a 79-59 lead with 6:26 left. But the Sparks answered with an 18-3 charge.
Sykes scored nine straight points to bring Los Angeles within 11 with 3:59 remaining. McBride hit a short baseline jumper for the Lynx with 2:26 left, but Sykes scored the next four points and Ogwumike added a 3-pointer to pull the Sparks within 81-75 with 1:05 remaining.
Los Angeles moved within five before McBride hit two free throws with 22.9 seconds left as the Lynx held on.
Minnesota shot 69 percent (20 of 29) from the field in the first half while holding a 52-43 lead at the break. Jefferson scored 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting in the half.
Jefferson’s basket increased Minnesota’s lead to 50-34 with three minutes left before Los Angeles went on a 9-2 run to end the half.
Banham and Shepard made the last two baskets of the third period to give Minnesota a 69-55 advantage entering the final stanza.
–Field Level Media