Parker Shines as Sparks’ Hot Shooting Weathers Storm

LOS ANGELES – Candace Parker posted a season high 21 points and pulled down seven rebounds as the Sparks dispatched Seattle 83-75 at STAPLES Center. Los Angeles entered the contest looking to add on a two-game winning streak, while Seattle looked to bounce back from a two-game skid. Ultimately, both streaks would remain intact as the Sparks shot a blistering 52.5 percent from the field, setting a new team season high.

A frontcourt battle between Parker and the Storm’s Natasha Howard in the first quarter buoyed both teams to open play. Parker notched seven quick points to keep the Sparks afloat, including an and-one off of a missed Chelsea Gray acrobatic layup attempt that sent the STAPLES Center crowd into a frenzy. Gray took over for the Sparks after Parker returned to the bench, countering the Storm’s 3-point barrage with timely 3-pointers of her own. The competitive first quarter ended as tightly as it began, but Los Angeles held on to a 27-24.

Gray’s sharpshooting continued into the second quarter. The All-Star’s 3-pointer on the first possession pushed her into double-digit scoring for the 15th time this season. Parker shortly joined her teammate in double-figures with a mid-range jumper, and the Sparks steadily pulled away throughout the quarter. A 3-pointer by Seattle’s Sami Whitcomb just before the buzzer sent the teams to the locker rooms with Los Angeles up 50-41.

The frontcourt duo of Parker and Nneka Ogwumike blitzed Seattle for four points each out of halftime, and Los Angeles pulled away to a 60-45 lead within the first five minutes of play. The second half of the quarter, however, belonged to Maria Vadeeva, who poured in the Sparks’ final eight points. Seattle chipped away at the fourteen-point lead to open the fourth quarter, but a Marina Mabrey seven-point run kept the Sparks comfortably in control. Mabrey finished the quarter with ten points, her first scoring output since July 18. The Storm would get no closer than eight to close out the game as Los Angeles cruised to its 13th win of the season.