LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles Sparks coach Carol Ross let her team know she was upset after another poor third quarter. By the end of the game she called it their best of the season.
The Sparks held the Seattle Storm to a season low in points, including 10 in the fourth quarter, in a 65-57 win on Tuesday. Candace Parker and Nneka Ogwumike each had 20 points and 11 rebounds and Parker equaled season-highs with seven assists and four blocks.
Armintie Herrington scored eight points for the Sparks (6-8), who had lost five of their previous six games and moved out of last place in the Western Conference, ahead of the Storm (6-10), after they were outscored 21-16, in the third.
“To me, this was our best game because we had to dig down,” Ross said. “They made their run in the third quarter. We were not very good defensively. They were very good offensively with the three-ball. They took a chewing and they made some adjustments and they were able to shut that down in the fourth quarter.
“I think this team found out a lot about themselves today because we didn’t do a lot of things well, still, but we were tougher. We found ways to win. That’s what great teams do.”
Temeka Johnson led Seattle with 11 points and Jenna O’Hea and Noelle Quinn each had nine. Seattle pulled to 55-50 on Camille Little’s basket in the paint with six minutes left but the Storm made only two field goals the rest of the way.
The 57 points were the fewest allowed by the Sparks this season.
“I think we played good defense for the most part, and that’s been the trend this season is just playing defense . and then certain plays escape us,” Parker said. “But this game we were able to kind of correct our problems and make plays down the stretch and do what works for us.”
Ogwumike made four free throws and Parker made a layup off Alana Beard’s steal to put the game away late. The Sparks won despite a scoreless game from third-leading scorer Beard, who went 0-for-7 from the field but recorded six assists.
Seattle made four straight 3-pointers during a 17-8 run to close the third quarter, the last by Quinn to get the Storm to 44-42. Quinn ended the third with a pull-up jumper to pull Seattle to 48-47 but the Storm got no closer.
“I just thought, for the most part, they played with a lot more urgency, toughness, and focus than we did,” Seattle coach Brian Agler said. “We did make a run. We sort of hung around for most of the game, had our chances to take the lead, and never could do that. That being said, I think the game was played the way Los Angeles wanted it to be played, and they took full advantage of it.”
Lindsey Harding had six points with three assists and two steals in the second quarter to help give the Sparks a 32-26 lead at halftime. Parker nearly had a double-double in the first half with nine points and eight rebounds.
Storm guard Tanisha Wright missed a third straight game with a bruised knee. Tina Thompson, the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer and a former Sparks and Storm player, attended the game.