LOS ANGELES – The Seattle Storm fell short of the sharp-shooting Los Angeles Sparks in an 83-75 loss at STAPLES Center on Sunday afternoon. Sami Whitcomb drained four of the Storm’s nine buckets from beyond the arc for a season-high 16 points off the bench. Alysha Clark was a perfect 6-for-6 from the field with a career-high four 3-pointers.
In her second game back from injury, Candace Parker recorded a season-high 21 points and six rebounds while Nneka Ogwumike added 13 points and 10 rebounds for her tenth double-double of the year.
Seattle opened 4-for-5 from 3-point range as Clark and Natasha Howard combined for 15 of the Storms first 24 points. Howard’s time on the floor was limited after picking up her third foul two minutes into the second quarter.
The Sparks utilized a 16-4 run to build a 12-point lead in the second quarter, but a Whitcomb triple just before the buzzer cut the Storm’s deficit to nine. Parker tallied 15 points and five rebounds in the opening half and Chelsea Gray broke double digits with 10 points.
Struggling to mirror the team’s quick start to the game, Seattle opened the second half shooting 1-for-8 and the Sparks climbed to a 17-point lead. Maria Vadeeva, in her second game since returning from overseas, scored eight consecutive points for Los Angeles to end the quarter.
After entering the final frame trailing by 14 points, the Storm picked up momentum with a pair of triples from Whitcomb. Sparks rookie Marina Mabreyalso came off the bench for 10 points in the fourth quarter, but Seattle went on a 9-0 run in the final 2:50 to finish within eight of Los Angeles.
The winner of the regular-season series will be determined on Sept. 5 at STAPLES Center.
Quotes are attached in the Sparks postgame materials.
KEY STATS OF THE GAME
- Candace Parker led the Sparks to their sixth straight home win with a season-high 21 points, including 15 in the first half.
- Both benches made strong impacts, as Maria Vadeeva and rookie Marina Mabrey combined for 24 Sparks points, including 18 in the second half. Storm reserve Sami Whitcomb contributed a season-high 16 points, drained four three-pointers and collected four steals.
- Coming off a 3-of-22 night from deep in a loss to the Washington Mystics, the Storm connected on four of its first five 3-point attempts.
- Alysha Clark also knocked down a career-high four 3-point field goals. She became the fifth Storm player to make four three-point field goals without a miss, and the first since Tina Thompson on 6/15/2012. She finished the night with a perfect 6-for-6 from the field, tying her season high with 16 points.
- Natasha Howard finished with 13 points and dished out a career-high five assists in her 27 minutes on the court. The Storm outscored the Sparks by four points with Howard on the floor.
- Mercedes Russell scored in double figures for the first time since July 12. Five of her team-high nine rebounds came off the offensive glass.
- Along with recording a season-high 16 points, Sami Whitcomb also contributed four assists and four steals.
- On the defensive side of the ball, the Storm held Chelsea Gray scoreless in the second half after allowing her to score 10 in the first.
- After allowing Los Angeles to shoot 58.3 percent from the field in the first 30 minutes of play, the Storm held the Sparks to 30.8 percent shooting in the fourth quarter and outscored Los Angeles 19-13 to get within eight by the final buzzer. Seattle scored the final nine points of the game, holding L.A. scoreless after Marina Mabrey’s free throws at the 2:50 mark.
- Seattle converted seven Sparks turnovers in the fourth quarter into seven points.
LOS ANGELES HIGHLIGHTS
- After she was held to two points on 1-of-9 shooting in her first contest vs. the Storm, Candace Parker finished the night with a season-high 21 points.
- Chelsea Gray was one of two Sparks players to crack double digits by the end of the first half, however, she was held scoreless in the final 20 minutes of play. She finished the night with 10 points and eight assists.
- In her second game since returning from overseas, Maria Vadeeva came off the Sparks bench for 14 points (5-6 FG). She scored eight consecutive points for Los Angeles to end the third quarter.
- By the end of the third quarter, four Sparks players had dropped double-digit points.
- The Sparks went 32-for-61 from the field for a season-high percentage of 52.5; 72% of their baskets were assisted.
- The Sparks forced 19 Storm turnovers to score 17 points off Seattle mistakes.
- Nneka Ogwumike finished the night with 13 points and 10 rebounds for her tenth double-double on the season.
The Storm returns home to Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett, Wash., where it will host the Dallas Wings (6-16) on Thursday, Aug. 8 at 7 p.m. PT before embarking on a three-game road trip.