Sun Pick Up Big Win Over Sparks on the Road

Los Angeles — Chiney Ogwumike scored the last of her game-high 21 points on a layup off a pass from Jasmine Thomas with 18.5 seconds left as the Connecticut Sun held off the Los Angeles Sparks 73-72 at the Staples Center on Tuesday night.

The Sun (10-7) led by as much as 20 points in the first half before weathering a furious second-half comeback to earn their first win at the Staples Center since  prevailing 76-68 on June 21, 2015.

The Sparks (12-6) outscored the Sun 26-13 in the third quarter — Candace Parker led the way with 12 points — and took their first lead of the night on a Nneka Ogwumike layup with 4:48 left.

That was the first of six lead changes down the stretch as the teams battled back and forth. Thomas had a layup and a clutch three while Ogwumike hit a pair of free throws before scoring her layup to ice the victory.

Ogwumike also had seven rebounds while Rachel Banham (11 points, career-high six assists) and Alex Bentley (10 points) also reached double figures.

Nneka Ogwumike had 20 points to lead the Sparks while Parker (17 points, eight rebounds) and Chelsea Gray (12 points) also paced Los Angeles.

The Sun led by as much as 37-17 during an efficient first half in which they shot 54.5 percent (18-of-33) with 10 assists while holding the Sparks to just 9-of-30 (30 percent) from the field.

Connecticut outscored the Sparks 24-6 in the paint, and held a 21-11 edge in rebounds while building a 41-25 halftime lead.

Ogwumike led the Sun with 12 points and three rebounds on 6-of-8 shooting in the half while Banham and Bentley each had eight points. Shekinna Stricklen tied a season-high with four rebounds in the first quarter alone, finishing with a season-high seven.

The Sun move on to Phoenix, facing the Mercury on July 5th. Game time is set for 10 p.m. ET.