Storm sweep season series with Sparks, earn 85-77 road win at Los Angeles
The Seattle Storm (6-17) defeated the Los Angeles Sparks (7-16) for the fourth time this season, 85-77, at Staples Center Tuesday night.
The Sparks looked in control in the first half and built a 24-13 lead by the time the first quarter ended. The Storm got into foul trouble almost immediately with Jewell Loyd, Alysha Clark, and Angel Goodrich each picking up multiple fouls early. Seattle’s bench came alive to help the team stay in contention for a win. Overall, the Storm bench outscored the Sparks bench, 28-15.
Playing in her home state of California, Storm rookie Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis had the hot hand and her 12 second quarter points helped keep the Storm within striking distance. Starting guard Loyd sat for most of the first half with two fouls, but came alive in the third quarter with 13 points and three rebounds in that period alone. At the break the Sparks led 48-35.
Early in the third quarter, the Storm fell behind by as much as 16, but quickly recovered to outscore the Sparks 24-16 in third quarter and 26-13 in the fourth.
Veterans Crystal Langhorne and Sue Bird anchored the Storm game plan. Coming off a season-high 29 points on Saturday, Langhorne followed up with an 18-point performance, her eighth consecutive contest scoring in double digits. Bird added 15 points, including two jumpers late in the game, to seal the win. Loyd and Mosqueda-Lewis also finished with 15 each. Loyd also had four rebounds and three assists while Mosqueda-Lewis earned a season-high in points.
Candace Parker continued to be the spark for Los Angeles, adding to her MVP-caliber numbers by tallying 12 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists. The two-time MVP was just one assist shy of a triple-double. Parker, Nneka Ogwumike, and Jantel Lavender each reached double-digit scoring in the first half for a Sparks team that lead by 13 after two quarters, 48-35. Lavender finished with 22 points, nearly triple her season average, and led the Sparks in scoring.
Seattle heads to Phoenix for a game tomorrow. The Sparks host the Chicago Sky on Sunday.
- Los Angeles set a new first half season-high with 48 points.
- The Sparks went to the free-throw line 18 times and converted 16 compared to the Storm’s 10-of-11 from the charity stripe.
- Los Angeles’ 23 assists was only the ninth time this season the team recorded 20 or more assists in a game through 23 played.
- Los Angeles was outscored 50-29 in the second half, allowing 50+ points for the third time this season by an opponent.
- Center Jantel Lavender led all scorers with a tied season-high 22 points to go along with seven rebounds and two blocked shots. Lavender’s 22 points was her fifth 20-point game of the season.
- Forward Candace Parker recorded 12 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, her fourth double-double this season through seven games played. Since her return, Parker has had at least a 10-point, 5-rebound and 5-assist performance in six of the seven games played.
- The last time Seattle swept Los Angeles in a season-series was in 2010 (5-0).
- Seattle outscored Los Angeles in the paint, 48-32, including 30-14 in the second half.
Sparks head coach Brian Agler
On Seattle’s effort against Sparks’ defense…
“We couldn’t get stops. [Seattle] got to the interior of our defense and Jewell Loyd hit some baskets. That forced us to help against her and kick the shooters. There were some 50-50 balls that we didn’t get. When the games in the balance, those 50-50 balls are the difference makers. ”
On pick-and-roll defense…
“We will be working on [pick-and-roll defense] until the end of the season. We’re just going to focus on getting better and improving. ”
Sparks forward Jantel Lavender
On tonight’s loss…
“It was just disappointing. We didn’t play hard enough. [Seattle] just out-worked us in the second half. ”
On the Storm’s resurgence in the third quarter…
“[The Storm] just came out hungrier than we were. They were executing. They were playing some mismatches and were pretty much doing whatever they wanted to. ”
Sparks forward Candace Parker
On difference between first and second halves…
“We were playing together in the first half. Offensively, we were locked in. Then they went on a run and we were unable to come back from it.”
On team’s energy…
“Our energy was just low. We just didn’t have energy and when that happens, we’re not going score offensively or get stops on defense.”
Storm head coach Jenny Boucek
On the third quarter performance and halftime motivation…
“I don’t even remember what I talked about at halftime. This is a group that analyzes itself pretty well. A lot of the time, they say the things that they needed to say before I even get in there. That’s a tribute to the humility in the leadership of our team and how close they are with one another and how much they’re studying the game together. They’ve gotten to a point where they know when things aren’t going well and what we need to do. I give them a lot of credit for continuing to fight and fight together.”
On the team’s resilience and attitude…
“We’ve stayed laser-focused on just trying to get better everyday. That’s just where we’re at everyday. That’s going to be the same tomorrow Ð every player individually and for us as a team. We’re just trying to learn and get better and we’re really studying ourselves and to grow. They’re maturing and they’re learning. They’re getting experience and that’s all we can ask for.”
Storm guard Sue Bird
On team effort in win…
“We have a game plan each game and we always stick to it. Even if [the Sparks] were picking us apart in the first half, we stuck to our game plan and never stopped playing. It wasn’t one thing particularly that changed the game. We just never stopped playing.”
On team resiliency…
“Honestly, everybody on our team who played in the game made clutch plays for us. It’s just the resiliency that this team has that helped us win. We haven’t won many games this season, and this might sound a bit crazy, but we really are resilient. With the exception of a handful of games, it’s not like we get blown out every game. We’re in games. Sometimes, we’re able to withstand it long enough and be able to get the win, like tonight.”
Storm center Crystal Langhorne
On tonight’s win…
“We just kept fighting until the end. [The Sparks] are a great team. We made our runs and made stops when we needed to. ”
On second half adjustments…
“We just needed to get a defensive rhythm. It makes it easier for us offensively when we have a rhythm on defense.”
By the Numbers
Points in the Paint: Storm 48, Sparks 32
Second Chance Points: Storm 9, Sparks 6
Fastbreak Points: Storm 9, Sparks 4
Biggest Lead: Storm 8, Sparks 16
Lead Changes: 3
Times Tied: 4