Toliver, Parker lead Sparks past LynxLOS ANGELES (AP) — Kristi Toliver scored 29 points and Candace Parker had 28 points and 13 rebounds as the Los Angeles Sparks beat the Minnesota Lynx 96-90 on Thursday.
By: Associated Press, Worthington Daily Globe
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kristi Toliver scored 29 points and Candace Parker had 28 points and 13 rebounds as the Los Angeles Sparks beat the Minnesota Lynx 96-90 on Thursday.
Nneka Ogwumike added 12 points and Alana Beard had 10 for the Sparks (11-6), who led by 20 in the opening minute of the fourth quarter before weathering Minnesota’s furious rally to snap a three-game losing streak. Toliver shot 8 for 13 from the field, including 6 for 6 on 3-pointers, and 6 for 7 on free throws. Parker also shot 8 for 13.
Seimone Augustus scored 18 points to lead the defending champion Lynx (13-3), who have lost two back-to-back games for the first time since June 24-26, 2011. Minnesota has also lost three straight on the road for the first time since August 2010.
Candice Wiggins had a 3 and Maya Moore made two to pull the Lynx to 84-78 with 2 1/2 minutes to go. However, Toliver and Parker made 10 free throws over the last 1:59 to seal the Sparks’ win.
Moore finished with 14 points, Rebekkah Brunson scored 11 and Wiggins and Amber Harris added 10 each for Minnesota.
The matchup between the top teams in the Western Conference appeared headed for a blowout until Minnesota staged a comeback. After Sykes’ 3 put the Sparks ahead 82-63 with 6:54 remaining, Moore’s 3 capped a 15-2 run that cut Minnesota’s deficit to six nearly 4 1/2 minutes later.
Harris’ three-point play pulled the Lynx to 90-85 with 27.1 seconds remaining, but Toliver made two free throws 1 second later. After Harris’ layup with 8.4 remaining, Toliver made two more from the line. Harris had another three-point play with 2.3 to go to pull the Lynx within four, but Parker made two free throws with less than a second left to close the scoring.
The Sparks pulled away in the third quarter and led by 18 points twice, including a breakaway layup by Beard to stretch the lead to 75-57 going into the fourth quarter. Toliver made two free throws with 9:23 remaining to extend the advantage to 20.
Ogwumike and Beard scored the final six points of the first half to give the Sparks a 49-43 at halftime. Parker and Toliver scored 30 of the Sparks’ first 34 points and Toliver made all five 3-point attempts in the first half.
Parker was a force in the first quarter. She scored 11 points and had three three-point play opportunities while Toliver also scored 11 points as Los Angeles ended the first quarter on a 13-2 run.
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