LOS ANGELES (AP) — Chiney Ogwumike was filled with mixed emotions when she made her way to the Los Angeles Sparks locker room to meet up with older sister Nneka Ogwumike.
She’s always happy to see her sister but this loss will sting for a while.
Nneka Ogwumike stole an inbounds pass and set up Kristi Toliver for the game-winning 3-pointer with 9.6 seconds remaining to give the Sparks a 70-69 win against the Connecticut Sun on Sunday.
Toliver’s first field goal of the game was the winner after the Sun’s Renee Montgomery missed a jumper on the final possession. It capped a comeback from six points down with 29 seconds remaining.
It also gave Nneka Ogwumike a 2-0 head-to-head record against Chiney Ogwumike. The No.1 picks of the 2012 and 2014 WNBA drafts, respectively, had not played against each other until this season.
“It’s not easy,” Nneka Ogwumike said. “Looking at her outside of her as a sibling, she’s a hard defensive assignment. She rebounds well. She finishes well, and she’s a great defender. Going out there and playing against her, it’s fun to know that we’ve both succeeded as far as we’ve gone, but we have to do what we can to stop (each other).”
Alana Beard led the Sparks (13-15) with 18 points and Ogwumike had 17 points and 10 rebounds.
The Sparks trailed 68-62 before Beard hit a 3-pointer, and Candace Parker’s hook shot in the paint got L.A. to 69-67 before Nneka Ogwumike’s stole Alyssa Thomas’ pass near the Sparks’ bench.
Chiney Ogwumike led the Sun (11-18) with 23 points and 13 rebounds and Katie Douglas had 15 points. Chiney Ogwumike scored 17 points in the second half, the last on a third-chance put back to give Connecticut a 64-60 lead.
“Man, this (stinks),” Chiney Ogwumike said. “It is really painful. But at the same time, we play a lot of young players, and I guess in order to win as a team and to deserve the wins, you have to go through these pains. It (stinks). It really hurts now. But you move on to the next. We have another game in 48 hours. I don’t know how to fathom that right now.”
Parker, who returned from a strained left knee that kept her out the previous two games, had nine points, four rebounds and four steals.
Toliver was 0-for-6 from the field before her final shot.
“For me it’s not about what happened,” Toliver said. “It’s about what you can make happen in the moment. I knew I was in there for a reason, and that’s to make a play. I wasn’t down about the game.”
Sparks guard Armintie Herrington left the game 1:26 into the third quarter with an apparent leg injury and did not return but a team official said Herrington was OK.
Sparks owner Magic Johnson attended the game.
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