LOS ANGELES (AP) — Nneka Ogwumike had 25 points and 11 rebounds, Kristi Toliver added 19 points, and the Los Angeles Sparks beat the Minnesota Lynx 85-84 on Thursday night.
Jantel Lavender scored 15 points for Los Angeles (23-10) and Candace Parker had 14 points and 10 rebounds before being ejected with just under 7 minutes remaining in the third quarter. Ogwumike had 22 points and Toliver 16 in the second half to help the Sparks end Minnesota’s seven-game winning streak.
Seimone Augustus led the Lynx (25-8) with 23 points and Maya Moore added 17 points before she fouled out with 2:18 remaining. Augustus scored 16 points in the second half. Lindsay Whalen finished with 13 points and Rebekkah Brunson had 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Minnesota pulled within two points three times in the final minutes, including 85-83, when Whalen rimmed in a shot with her foot on the 3-point line with 1.2 seconds remaining. Sparks coach Carol Ross was whistled for a technical foul and Augustus made the ensuing free throw before L.A. ran the clock off.
Parker was ejected with 6:58 remaining in the third quarter after she complained to an official. The Sparks were leading 43-34 at the time, and maintained a lead through the period on 12 points from Ogwumike and seven from Toliver.
Ogwumike scored the first six points of the second quarter and made a layup to make it 50-39. Toliver hit a 3-pointer, a jumper and a tear-drop runner with the clock winding down to give the Sparks a 59-51 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Minnesota opened the fourth quarter on a 15-2 run to take a 66-61 lead. Los Angeles called timeout and took the lead at 71-70 on Lindsey Harding’s three-point play.
The Lynx will host the Seattle Storm in the WNBA’s Western Conference Semifinals starting at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20, at Target Center.
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