Nneka Ogwumike scored a team-high 27 points, 14 rebounds and four assists as the Los Angeles Sparks defeated the Seattle Storm 92-85 on Saturday night at Crypto.com Arena.
Los Angeles improved to 3-2 on the season and have won their last two games. Seattle dropped to 0-4, matching their worst start in franchise history in 2000 during their first season.
The Sparks were able to hold off a career-high 37-point effort from Storm guard Jewell Loyd, as she became the 2nd player in league history to record 35+ points, +five assists, +five rebounds, and 8 three-pointers in a game.
Diana Taurasi in 2016 was the only other player to record that type of stat line.
“I was just getting to my spots,” said Loyd. “It sounds that simple, but when you prepare that way I’ve been preparing you just feel comfortable in those situations to take shots.
“When you see a couple go in, you just want to keep shooting. I got into a rhythm, so I was able to get to my spots. I missed a lot of easy ones. I missed two free throws and that’s unacceptable,” Loyd said.
Ezi Magbegor added 14 points and nine rebounds for the Storm.
Layshia Claredon finished with 16 points and six assists while Chiney Ogwumike had 15 points for the Sparks. Lexie Brown scored 14 and Jordin Canada added nine points, seven assists and four steals for Los Angeles.
Neither team was able to pull away in the first half as the game was tied at 39-39 through 20 minutes of play.
Seattle made 13 three-pointers but committed 18 costly turnovers, also being outscored 44-20 in the paint by LA.
“As many threes and as good as Jewell played, when you can outscore a team like that in the paint, you’re going to have success,” Sparks coach Curt Miller said.
Loyd converted a three-pointer that gave Seattle a two-point lead with 3:36 left in the third period but the Sparks finished the period with a 10-2 run, as well as scoring 17 of the next 23 points to take a 72-61 advantage with 8:23 left in the fourth.
Seattle then went on a 10-2 run of their own to get within three, 74-71 after Loyd made another three-pointer with 5:14 left.
However, Los Angeles quickly pushed their lead back to double digits after Chiney and Nneka Ogwumike scored 10 consecutive points to help cap a 92-85 win over the Seattle.
The Sparks and Storm will face off again on Tuesday for a rematch in Seattle.
“You have to live with the tough shots that (Loyd) makes,” Miller said. “I don’t know to say this other than you just say it, she’s the best two-guard in the world, period right now. Period. But we won a game when she scored 37 because of our collective unit.”