Stars Edge Sparks, 72-69
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Danielle Robinson needed some time to get up to full speed for the San Antonio Stars.
Quiet for most of the game, Robinson scored on a driving layup with 8.4 seconds left to give San Antonio a 72-69 victory over the Los Angeles Sparks on Sunday. She got the ball at the top of the key and converted from the left side. The Sparks missed a field-goal attempt and were forced to foul on their next possession.
Robinson also scored on a drive to tie it at 69 with 40 seconds left as the Stars (7-6) won their third game in a row.
“Just being confident,” Robinson said. “We had a bunch of shooters on the floor, so the floor was spread. If it’s Jayne (Appel) screening for me or (Danielle Adams) screening for me, I know that they’re going to get a piece of my defense and then it’s just me. I’m trying to find an angle to get to the basket.”
Robinson and Adams each scored 13 points, and Becky Hammon had 11. Robinson, who scored a season-high 24 points against the Sparks on June 14, was guarded by defensive specialist Armintie Herrington for most of the game and had only two points in the first half.
But her quickness paid off against a Sparks team that has gone to a bigger lineup without guard Kristi Toliver, who is training with the Slovak national team. San Antonio coach Dan Hughes said he also sees maturation from Robinson at both ends of the floor.
“She’s always had great quickness, and she’s was very well-coached in college,” Hughes said. “But now she’s learning to make the right basketball play, and she’s increased her ability to shoot the basketball. So this is just not a quick player that penetrates and dishes and dumps.”
Nneka Ogwumike led the Sparks (4-8) with a season-high 24 points and 11 rebounds. Candace Parker had 17 points and eight rebounds, and Jantel Lavender had 14 points and 13 rebounds.
Ogwumike scored 11 points in the fourth quarter, including a bank shot that gave the Sparks a 69-67 lead. San Antonio missed its next four shots, and Ogwumike got a block on Adams on another possession.
The Sparks committed a season-high 23 turnovers that the Stars converted into 20 points.
“Way too many of them,” Sparks coach Carol Ross said. “I thought when San Antonio went in their zone, it’s that old basic fake-a-pass to make-a-pass. We were staring our targets down. We weren’t getting hands on balls, and then we were trying to jam it in when people weren’t open. We were just forcing. If it don’t fit, don’t force it. It’s just basic basketball. I don’t care what level it is. We just weren’t very good with decision making in those instances.”
Hammon made three 3-pointers in the opening four minutes of the fourth quarter to put San Antonio ahead, 67-62, before the Sparks came back with a jump hook by Lavender and a three-point play by Ogwumike.
Hammon was also kept off the stat sheet early with two points through three quarters before her outburst.
“Obviously Becky’s a vet,” Robinson said. “To have her presence out there is really nice. In times like that, we really, really need her.”
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