Storm-Sparks Preview

AP - Sports

The Los Angeles Sparks' long home win streak finally came to an end last week. They hope a second game in five days against the struggling Seattle Storm starts another one.

Los Angeles seeks an eighth straight victory over Seattle on Thursday in the WNBA's final game before the All-Star break.

The Sparks (12-5) had the second-longest home winning streak in league history snapped last Thursday with a 90-84 loss to Phoenix. They had won 19 straight regular-season games at Staples Center dating back to last July.

That defeat also halted an overall six-game win streak, and they were in danger of losing again Saturday at Seattle, but Alana Beard's 15-foot jumper with 10.2 seconds left lifted the Sparks to a 65-64 victory.

"When Lindsey (Harding) drove, it opened up the lane for me to pull up for a jump shot," Beard said. "It just came after the first option wasn't there, the second option wasn't there and I became the third or fourth option."

Los Angeles trailed by eight at halftime and had been 0-4 when facing a deficit after two quarters.

"I was very proud of our second-half effort because it was a grind," coach Carol Ross said. "We hadn't shown a whole lot of resilience in the past in fighting our way out of tough situations so I was real pleased with our fight."

First-time All-Star Nneka Ogwumike scored a season-high 24 on 10-of-14 shooting and grabbed nine rebounds. She also blocked two shots in the final 10 seconds.

The Storm (6-10) again defended Candace Parker well, limiting her to seven points on 3-of-11 shooting. But it didn't affect the result, just like Seattle's 102-69 season-opening loss in Los Angeles on May 26 when she scored 10 points.

Parker was voted an All-Star starter for the second time in her career but will make her first appearance in the game Saturday. An injury kept her from playing in the 2011.

Kristi Toliver, averaging 14.8 points, also will represent the Western Conference with Parker and Ogwumike at Mohegan Sun Arena.

Seattle has lost seven of nine and is the league's only team without an All-Star, a first in the franchise's 14-year history. The season-long absences of Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson due to injuries continue to take a toll on the team's offense, which averages a league-low 68.9 points.

Los Angeles is averaging 87.5 points on 50.2 percent shooting while going 9-1 at home, compared to a 78.9 average on 45.6 percent shooting with a 3-4 road record.

The Storm have lost all seven meetings since sweeping the Sparks in the 2011 conference finals.

View Comments