Sparks defeat Lynx, take 2-1 series lead
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Nneka Ogwumike and Odyssey Sims each scored 16 points to help the Los Angeles Sparks beat the Minnesota Lynx 75-64 in Game 3 of the WNBA Finals on Friday night.
The Sparks have taken a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five game series and with one more win can become the first team since 2002 to win the championship in back-to-back years. Los Angeles won back-to-back titles in 2001 and 2002.
For the Lynx, Maya Moore scored 16 points, all of which came in the second half. She picked up her third foul in the second quarter and fouled out with 37 seconds left.
The Sparks led by as many as 13 points in the third quarter but the Lynx pulled to within one in the fourth quarter. Los Angeles held on, outscoring Minnesota 17-7 after the Lynx got within 58-57.
The first two games came down to the final seconds and this was another close game but the Sparks never trailed.
For the second straight game, Candace Parker was held scoreless in the first quarter again and had just five points by halftime. She finished with 13 points, seven rebounds, five steals and three blocks. She made the first basket of the third quarter.
“We were able to get stops on the defensive end. They are a great team,” Parker said. “They hit some big shots down the stretch. We just wanted to make things tough for the big time players. We didn’t let them get a lot of second-chance opportunities.”
The Sparks built an 11-point lead in the first quarter and but led just 32-26 by halftime.
Ogwumike played in foul trouble as well. She was whistled for her third foul with 8:18 left in the third quarter.
The Sparks left the court before the National Anthem in silent protest. The Sparks have said they’re standing for solidarity and unity and they did the same in Games 1 and 2. They were booed in Minnesota when they returned from the court in Game 2. They were not booed in Los Angeles … Musician Snoop Dogg and Magic Johnson — co-owner of the Sparks — attended the game. … MVP Sylvia Fowles was named to the All-WNBA first team with 39 of 40 votes for 195 points. Sparks center Candace Parker was also on the first team with 137 points along with Lynx forward Maya Moore (127 points). Ogwumike and Chelsea Gray were on the second team.
The Sparks can clinch the WNBA championship with a win in Game 4 Sunday at Staples Center.