Sparks Clinch Playoff Berth in Blowout Win Over Fever

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Sparks defeated the Indiana Fever 98-65 to extend their home winning streak to 10 games, the longest winning streak at home since the 2012 season. With the victory, the Sparks become the fourth team in the WNBA to clinch a playoff spot this season, the franchise’s 19th playoff appearance in 23 seasons.

Los Angeles was led by All-Star and MVP candidate Nneka Ogwumike who had 17 points and seven rebounds, including five on the offensive end. Six Sparks players eclipsed double-digits tonight, including 15 from Chiney Ogwumike. Ogwumike’s 15 points are her most in a game since July 23 against the Atlanta Dream.

Candace Parker led the Sparks in assists with five tonight, eclipsing 1,200 assists in her career.

The Sparks lead grew to as many as 38 points in the early stages of the fourth quarter, which set a season-high for biggest lead held at any point this season. The previous high of 30 had been reached twice this season, once against Indiana on July 12.

Los Angeles’ defense shined again tonight, as they held the Fever to 65 points, the least amount of points scored against LA this season. On offense the Sparks tied their season-high in points with 98 and dished out 27 assists, which marked their season-high.

Los Angeles started off the first quarter with two baskets in the paint by Nneka Ogwumike, while Indiana scored the first six points of the quarter and jumped out to a 12-4 lead halfway through the first.  Fever guard Tiffany Mitchell led all scorers in the quarter with eight points.

The second quarter began with a Chiney Ogwumike steal and score to pull the Sparks within two points. Los Angeles went on an 11-2 run to take their first lead of the game.  Tierra Ruffin-Pratt hit a 3-pointer with three minutes left in the quarter to extend the Sparks lead to six points.

Defense shined in the first half for the Sparks as they gave up a season-low 31 points. Sisters Chiney and Nneka Ogwumike combined for 19 points and 8 rebounds through two quarters.

To start the third quarter Ruffin-Pratt made an and-one reverse layup to extend the lead to 15 points. The Sparks went on a 14-3 run in the first five minutes of the quarter. Los Angeles’ lead ballooned to as many as 29 points.

The Sparks continued their stellar play with a pick and roll layup for Chiney Ogwumike to start the fourth quarter. Forward Maria Vadeeva went coast to coast for a left-handed layup to watch the lead increase to 30. Vadeeva grabbed seven rebounds in the second half, which tied her career-high.

This matchup also marked the first game back for Sparks guard Riquna Williams, who was serving a 10-game suspension. Williams finished with 10 points and tied her season-high with five rebounds.

For the first time all season, all 12 members of the Sparks roster were available and all 12 players played.