The Los Angeles Sparks hustled to the final seconds against the Seattle Storm. With 0.3 seconds left, Storm guard Jewell Loyd took an in-bound pass and sank a clutch three-pointer, allowing the Seattle Storm to survive the Sparks 90-89.
Although her foot was close to the boundary line, the officials did not consider it to be out of bounds. Sparks guard Brittney Sykes defended Loyd in the play, she noted that she “gave it [her] best contest.”
“I honestly didn’t know where the ball was going, it just happened to go to my man,” Sykes said. “Whether the refs saw her foot out of bounds or not, it’s a tough one.”
Sparks forward Candace Parker led with 25 points, seven rebounds, and three blocks. Loyd led the Storm with 25 points and forward Breanna Stewart made eight rebounds and nine assists.
A loss like this could possibly teach the team about the importance of every possession and the level one must compete to secure a win, according to Sparks head coach Derek Fisher.
“It’s difficult to always prepare your team for that,” he said. “It’s not until you face the best teams in those moments that the decision making, the ability to make free throws, the ability to take care of the basketball down the stretch … those are all things that takes experience to happen.”
The Sparks jumped to a 15-7 lead in the early minutes. Parker’s shots defied the Storm defense and Seattle was slow to catch an offensive rhythm.
Sparks guard Riquna Williams went on a six-point run to start the second quarter. Storm center Natasha Howard retorted with a seven-point run of her own, bringing Seattle within six points. Stewart dished the ball to her teammates to score. The Sparks were not scoring at the same rate as the game neared halftime.
The Storm had a four-point deficit coming into the third quarter and brought a tough defense that forced turnovers. Soon, both teams began trading shots, causing 10 lead changes and five ties. The stakes of this marquee contest grew higher as both teams were tied at 69 at the end of the third quarter.
The Sparks gave a strong effort but made fouls. The Storm also sent the Sparks to the free throw line with Howard fouling out with 20.8 seconds left in regulation.
According to Parker, Los Angeles wanted to clinch a victory from the Storm as the Sparks have only won one game against teams that are in the top four spots in the league.
“We have an opportunity this next week, we’re playing Chicago again, we’re playing Vegas again,” Parker said. “At some point, we got to win against a top team.”
The Sparks’ next game will be against Chicago Sky on September 6 at 5:00P.M.