LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The Los Angeles Sparks scored their season-high in points and cruised to an 102-68 victory over the Seattle Storm Thursday night at the Staples Center. The win guaranteed the Sparks the No. 3 seed in the playoffs and was the team’s 13thstraight home win. The team also recorded a season-high 41 made field goals on a season-high 54.7% shooting. Of their 102 points, 74 came in the paint; a franchise record and the second most in a single-game in WNBA history.
Candace Parker led the way with 20 points and nine rebounds, followed by Nneka Ogwumike’s 12th double-double of the season, boasting 14 points and 10 rebounds in 17 minutes of play. Chelsea Gray, Chiney Ogwumike and Maria Vadeeva also scored in double-digits. Natasha Howard and Jewell Loyd recorded 13 points each for Seattle.
A 10-0 run in the first quarter helped the Sparks close it with a six-point lead. Parker drove to the basket to bring the score to 13-15 before Gray tied it up with another driving layup. Sydney Wiese hit a dagger beyond the arc and earned an and-one on consecutive possessions as Chiney Ogwumike locked up Seattle’s Crystal Langhorne and Natasha Howard in the paint on the other end. But Howard kept shooting 3-pointers, knocking down two out of three attempts and finishing the quarter with 10 points. Parker led the Sparks to a 25-19 lead with seven points, four rebounds and two assists.
Los Angeles stayed on top with a Maria Vadeeva put-back and an Alexis Jones three to open the second quarter. Jewell Loyd added five points to her total, but the Sparks kept Howard scoreless in the quarter and capitalized on their lead with six more points from Nneka Ogwumike. With 11 seconds left in the half, Parker and Tierra Ruffin-Pratt pressured Seattle on the perimeter and forced the shot clock to run out before Gray hit a jumper at the buzzer, giving the Sparks a 50-35 lead at the half.
While Nneka Ogwumike notched her double-double in the third quarter, Parker continued driving to the basket and testing Howard’s defense to score seven more points. Seattle struggled to find the basket, finishing shooting 34.8% from the field compared to the Sparks’ season-high 54.7%. Ruffin-Pratt grabbed four steals throughout the game to match her career-high, and Gray showed off her no-look dimes while racking up nine assists.
The contest ended with Kalani Brown forcing her way to the basket for a layup and drawing a foul to propel the Sparks to a 34-point victory over Seattle, tying the second-largest margin of victory in Sparks history as the whole Sparks bench stood on its feet and danced until the buzzer.