Prince and Magbegor step up to help lead Storm over Sparks, 84-74

LOS ANGELESEpiphanny Prince stepped in. Ezi Magbegor stepped up. And Breanna Stewart bounced back.

Prince scored 18 points in her first start of the season, Magbegor tallied a career-high 20 off the bench, and Stewart went for 21 just two nights after a rare single-digit scoring performance as the Seattle Storm outscored Los Angeles by a 36-18 margin in the final 12 minutes of the game to beat the Sparks, 84-74 on Sunday.

The Storm (14-4) were down 56-48 with 2:13 left in the third quarter at the Los Angeles Convention Center as L.A. (6-11) went on a 26-9 burst coming out of halftime.

But Seattle’s defense then limited the Sparks to just one field goal during the next eight minutes. That helped fuel a 30-8 scoring surge for a 78-64 lead with 3:55 to play. The closest Los Angeles came after that was eight inside the final minute.

Prince got the start in place of Olympian and WNBA All-Star guard Jewell Loyd, who did not play while nursing a tweaked left ankle from Friday’s 91-88 victory against Atlanta. In 31 minutes, Prince hit 6 of 12 from the field, all four free throws, adding two rebounds, two assists, and three steals.

Second-year center Magbegor poured in 16 of her after halftime – eight each during the third and fourth quarters – on the way to her first career 20-ponit outing. She hit 7 of 11, was a perfect 6 of 6 from the line and collected nine rebounds.

Stewart was back in the groove. She hit 8 of 15 from the floor, including 3 of 7 from behind the arc. Stewart scored just nine points on Friday against Atlanta, just the seventh time in her career that she did not hit for double figures. But for the fourth straight time, she hit the 20-point mark in her next contest.

Sue Bird added 13 points on 4-of-8 shooting, with no turnovers in 29 minutes. That pushed her past Katie Smith into No. 6 on the all-time WNBA scoring list. Bird now has 6,464 points.

Combined, the foursome of Prince, Magbegor, Stewart, and Bird shot 54.3 percent from the floor (25 of 46).

The Storm had a 39-30 lead at halftime before the Sparks came out and scored on their first six possessions of the second half to climb back into the game.

After falling behind by eight, Seattle put together a 12-0 run bridging the third and fourth quarters, then rang up 11 straight points midway through the fourth to take command.

Brittney Sykes and Erica Wheeler scored 19 points each for Los Angeles, which lost its fourth in a row.

The win kept the Storm atop the Western Conference Commissioner’s Cup standings at 6-1. Their final three games prior to the break for the Olympics will determine whether Seattle will represent the West in the Cup final on Aug. 12 in Phoenix. The first of those games is a Wednesday rematch against the Sparks at Angel Of The Winds Arena in Everett, tipping off at 7:00 p.m. (Antenna TV, CBSSN).