Lynx on brink of elimination in WNBA Finals
LOS ANGELES -- Candace Parker had 24 points and nine rebounds and Nneka Ogwumike added 21 points and nine rebounds as the Los Angeles Sparks beat the Minnesota Lynx 92-75 on Friday night in the WNBA Finals to take 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series.
LOS ANGELES - Candace Parker had 24 points and nine rebounds and Nneka Ogwumike added 21 points and nine rebounds as the Los Angeles Sparks beat the Minnesota Lynx 92-75 on Friday night in the WNBA Finals to take 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series.
The Sparks can close out the championship series Sunday night at Staples Center.
The defending champion Lynx will try to force a deciding Game 5 in Minnesota on Oct. 20.
Sylvia Fowles and Rebekkah Brunson led Minnesota with 14 points each. Maya Moore, who was averaging 23.2 points in the playoffs, managed only nine points.
Los Angeles, which lost by 19 points to the Lynx in Game 2, seemed determined to return the favor, leading by as much as 22 points in the first half before settling for a 48-40 halftime lead.
The Lynx figured they had taken the Sparks’ best shot considering Los Angeles, which shot 60 percent from the field in the first quarter by making 15 of 25 shots, saw that percentage slip slightly in the second and third quarters to 53.6 percent.
Nonetheless, the Sparks took a 70-58 lead into the fourth quarter.
Minnesota, which never led, came as close as 81-71 with 3:42 left. But a full-court pass from Parker to Ogwumike for a layup pushed the margin back to 87-71 with 2:12 remaining.
Ogwumike didn’t score the game’s first point until 8:59 remained in the first quarter with a free throw.
Kristi Toliver followed with the first basket 30 seconds later. That seemed to relax Los Angeles, which then moved out to a 6-0 lead on a 3-pointer by Parker.
Fowles put Minnesota on the scoreboard at the seven-minute mark with a layup. But Los Angeles grew its lead to 13-2 after an Alana Beard steal and a fast-break layup by Ogwumike.
Los Angeles increased the lead to 21-6, forcing the Lynx to call their second timeout in the quarter. But the Sparks weren’t slowed as another Beard steal and layup expanded the lead to 28-8 with 2:11 remaining.
An offensive rebound and lay-in by Jantel Lavender pushed the Sparks’ lead to 38-17 early in the second quarter.
While the biggest lead was 22, the Lynx began to chip away and cut the deficit to 48-40 by the end of the first half.
r Ogwumike and Moore were named to the All-WNBA first team Friday. Lynx center Sylvia Fowles was named to the second team.