Nneka Ogwumike scored 23 points to lead five Los Angeles players in double figures as the host Sparks defeated the Phoenix Mercury 99-94 on Wednesday night.
Liz Cambage added 21 points, Katie Lou Samuelson scored 17, Chennedy Carter had 12 and Lexie Brown 10 as the Sparks (3-5) ended a five-game losing streak.
Skylar Diggins-Smith, returning from a two-game absence caused by a non-COVID illness, scored 28 points to lead Phoenix (2-5). Tina Charles had 21, Diamond DeShields added 17 points and nine assists, Diana Taurasi scored 11 and Brianna Turner 10 for the Mercury, who lost their fourth straight game.
Phoenix’s Sophie Cunningham sat out because of health and safety protocol, and Shey Peddy (back) also was sidelined.
Ogwumike’s basket started the third-quarter scoring and gave the Sparks a 58-45 lead.
The Mercury closed within 71-66 on a 3-pointer by Taurasi before Brittney Sykes’ layup gave Los Angeles an 80-70 lead with a layup at the end of the third quarter.
The Mercury pulled within 87-81 on Turner’s layup midway through the fourth quarter.
Samuelson made two free throws and Cambage added a basket to push the lead to 10 points.
Phoenix closed within 97-94 on two free throws by Taurasi with one minute left, but the Mercury didn’t score again. Jordin Canada and Ogwumike each made one of two free throws down the stretch to help the Sparks seal the victory.
The score was tied before the Mercury scored nine straight points to take an 18-9 lead.
Sykes’ layup completed a 9-0 run that pulled the Sparks even at 18.
Carter’s basket completed the first-quarter scoring and pulled Los Angeles even at 22.
Ogwumike’s basket started the second-quarter scoring and gave the Sparks their first lead.
Los Angeles built the advantage to 39-29 on two free throws by Ogwumike before Phoenix got as close as two points on a Taurasi 3-pointer midway through the quarter.
The Sparks led by 13 points twice before finishing the first half with a 56-45 edge.
–Field Level Media