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Sparks topple Storm behind Nneka Ogwumike’s 24

Sep 7, 2018; Seattle, WA, USA; The WNBA logo on a ball during the fourth quarter of game one of the WNBA finals between the Seattle Storm and the Washington Mystics at KeyArena. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

Nneka Ogwumike scored 24 points on 12-of-18 shooting to lead the Los Angeles Sparks to an 85-77 victory over the host Seattle Storm on Saturday night.

Katie Lou Samuelson added 17 points, six rebounds and six assists as the Sparks (7-10) won for just the second time in their past six games. Brittney Sykes contributed 15 points, eight assists and three steals, and Kristi Toliver had 11 points for Los Angeles.

Breanna Stewart recorded 28 points, seven rebounds and five assists for the Storm (11-7). Ezi Magbegor added 16 points and three steals, and Gabby Williams tallied 11 points.

The Seattle backcourt of Sue Bird (six points, six assists) and Jewell Loyd (three points) both had poor outings. Bird was 2-of-8 shooting and Loyd was 1-of-9.

The Sparks shot 47.2 percent from the field, including 8 of 20 from 3-point range. Los Angeles held a 41-26 rebounding advantage.

Seattle connected on 41.3 percent of its shots and was 8 of 27 from behind the arc while losing for just the second time in eight games.

The score was tied at 68 entering the fourth quarter. The Storm led 74-73 after Briann January’s jumper with 6:49 left, but the Sparks answered with a game-ending 12-3 run.

Ogwumike scored three baskets during the span, including a turnaround jumper to give Los Angeles the eight-point lead with 1:13 remaining.

Los Angeles led by eight in the opening minute of the third quarter before the Storm whittled away at their deficit.

Seattle used a 10-3 push later in the period to knot the score at 64 on a basket by Magbegor with 2:28 left.

Toliver capped an 11-point half with a floater with 14.8 seconds left to give the Sparks a 49-43 halftime lead.

Seattle came out of the gates fast and used four straight 3-pointers — two by Stewart and one apiece by Loyd and Bird — to take a 19-7 advantage with 5:35 left in the first quarter. But the Sparks battled back to trail 25-20 after one quarter.

Ogwumike capped a 9-0 spurt in the second quarter with a hoop as Los Angeles moved ahead 31-29 with 6:58 remaining in the half. The lead eventually grew to eight when Sykes converted a basket with 1:55 left.

–Field Level Media