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Sparks beat Lynx on late basket by Nneka Ogwumike

Oct 2, 2020; Bradenton, Florida, USA; A game ball waits on a sanitation cart during game 1 of the WNBA finals between the Las Vegas Aces and the Seattle Storm at IMG Academy. Mandatory Credit: Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports

Nneka Ogwumike canned a short jumper in the lane with 7.3 seconds left to lift the Los Angeles Sparks to an 85-83 win over the Minnesota Lynx on Sunday night in Minneapolis.

Rachel Banham sank a 17-footer with 26.6 seconds remaining to tie the score at 83. After a timeout, Los Angeles (4-6) found Ogwumike and she delivered from 10 feet out to help it win for just the second time in eight games.

Minnesota (2-7) had a chance to force overtime, but Kayla McBride couldn’t connect on a pullup jumper from the left wing in the last three seconds. The Sparks got possession with 0.4 seconds left after the Lynx knocked the ball out of bounds and ran out the clock.

Chennedy Carter scored a game-high 20 points for Los Angeles, which played without starting point guard Jordin Canada (hamstring). Ogwumike added 16, while Liz Cambage contributed 15 points and Katie Lou Samuelson hit for 13.

McBride scored 19 points to pace Minnesota, while Sylvia Fowles and reserve Aerial Powers each added 15. Moriah Jefferson chipped in 11 points.

The Lynx lost despite going 35 of 43 at the foul line as opposed to the Sparks’ 22 of 27.

Los Angeles put its stamp on the game almost immediately. It ripped off 12 straight points in a 3:50 span of the first quarter to put Minnesota in a 19-5 hole after Ogwumike’s layup and took a 24-11 advantage into the second quarter.

The lead grew to 17 at the 3:21 mark of the second quarter when Samuelson canned a technical free throw. The Lynx made some inroads after that, slicing the deficit to 45-34 at halftime as Powers converted a jumper with 1:24 left.

Minnesota made its move late in the third quarter. Beginning with a 3-pointer by McBride, it rattled off an 11-2 run to pull within a point on Bridget Carleton’s 3-pointer. Even when Brittney Sykes drove for a layup with 2.3 seconds on the clock, the Lynx started the fourth period trailing just 61-58.

–Field Level Media