Los Angeles – Behind 27 points and 14 rebounds from Nneka Ogwumike, the Sparks survived a 37-point outburst from Jewell Loyd to beat the Seattle Storm Saturday, 92-85.
Layshia Clarendon added 16 points and 6 assists and Chiney Ogwumike had 15 points, as Los Angeles moved to 3-2 on the season. Ezi Magbegor had 14 points and Jada Melbourne, 10, as new-look Seattle fell short of grabbing their first win of the season.
The two teams went blow-for-blow in the first three quarters, with the visitors out-shooting their opponents – especially from the three-point line – behind which Loyd tied her career high with eight buckets on the night.
In the fourth quarter the Sparks continued a run they began at the end of the third, and padded their lead to 72-61 at the 8:23 mark. But lead by Loyd, the Storm kept chipping away at the lead, cutting it to four with just over six minutes to go. Los Angeles pulled away more than two game minutes later, when Nneka Ogwumike made two free throws, Loyd missed a shot, and a Sparks rebound lead to a Chiney Ogwumike bucket.
Seattle made another run to close the gap to 86-82 at the 1:42 mark, but the Sparks defense held them to just three points the rest of the way.
The Storm have eight new players on their roster, and have been working towards cohesion. They came close to beating the Dallas Wings and the New York Liberty before arriving in Los Angeles.
The Sparks have had their own challenges, as three starters missed games last week with non-COVID illnesses.
The two teams face off once again Tuesday, in Seattle.