UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) — Nneka Ogwumike had 24 points and seven rebounds and the Los Angeles Sparks used a big third quarter to rout the Connecticut Sun 90-64 on Sunday.
Jantel Lavender had 19 points and seven rebounds for the Sparks (9-11) and Candace Parker added 15 points and nine rebounds. They outscored the Sun 30-10 in the third quarter.
Rookie Chiney Ogwumike had 18 points and six rebounds and Alex Bentley had 10 points, five assists and four rebounds for the Sun (9-13), who have lost seven of their past eight.
The Sparks led by four points early in the second half when Nneka Ogwumike made two free throws, followed by a running jumper.
Alana Beard, Ogwumike and Lavender each added a jumper to give Los Angeles its first double-digit lead at 54-42.
“All along I felt like if we played harder, we wouldn’t have been in so many of those close games,” Sparks’ coach Carol Ross said. “We need to be able to finish out no matter what the score is.
“Today I was very pleased with our intensity coming out of the locker room at the half. I thought our third quarter is where we really imposed our will and played strong.”
Armintie Herrington’s 18-foot jumper gave Los Angeles its biggest lead at 84-53 with over four minutes left in the game.
“They’re a bad matchup for anybody in the league,” Sun coach Anne Donovan said. “When they put Lavender into the starting lineup (at center) and put Parker permanently at the three, it’s a nightmare.”
It was the second straight win for the Sparks, and just the second time they’ve won back-to-back games in what has been a frustrating season.
“I think the biggest thing has just been the chemistry,” Lavender said. “It’s been two weeks now that we’ve had our full squad, so I think we’re just kind of getting our chemistry late, but we’re playing hard every game. So we know it’s about playing with energy and effort with the pieces we have.”
Bentley made two free throws less than a minute into the game to give Connecticut a 2-0 lead. It was its only lead of the game.
“We will talk to the (coaching) staff and we’ll try to figure out if maybe mixing things up from a personal standpoint will help,” Donovan said. “As a staff, we have to recognize what’s going on out there and if changes may or may not help us.
“It’s not foreboding. Don’t read anything into it. It’s the product of a game where we had a really horrible third quarter and we have to make sure we’re doing everything as a staff to ensure it doesn’t happen again.”
(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)