Balanced Sparks hand Storm loss

MVP Jackson held to just nine points

LOS ANGELES – Reserve forward Ebony Hoffman scored 12 points to lead a balanced offense as the Los Angeles Sparks beat Seattle 74-50 on Sunday night, snapping a seven-game losing streak to the Storm.

Kristi Toliver scored 11 points and Candace Parker and rookie Jantel Lavender each added 10 for Los Angeles (3-1). The Sparks had lost the last five regular-season meetings with the Storm, and were swept in the playoffs last year.

Sue Bird scored 15 points to lead Seattle (2-2), which came in allowing a league-low 68.6 points per game. Reigning MVP Lauren Jackson was held to nine points on 3-for-14 shooting.

The Sparks led 39-25 at halftime while limiting the Storm to 31 percent shooting from the field – including 2 for 11 on 3-pointers. Seattle got no closer than nine in the second half, trailing by double digits for the final 7 minutes.

DeLisha Milton-Jones’ jumper 4:07 into the game gave the Sparks a 7-6 lead and they didn’t trail again. Parker’s jumper with 3:14 left in the first half stretched the lead to 33-14.

Neither team scored for the first 3:03 of the third quarter until Jackson converted a free throw on Milton-Jones’ technical. Bird’s 3-pointer 36 seconds later was the first basket for either team.

Seattle missed its first five shots after the break and had four turnovers. Los Angeles missed its first three shots with two turnovers.

After closing to 43-34 on Jackson’s 3 with 4:14 left in the third quarter, Seattle was outscored 31-16 the rest of the way.

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