SEATTLE – When the Los Angeles Sparks needed a lift to break open a close game in the second half, Nneka Ogwumike and Candace Parker took over.
Ogwumike scored 16 of her 22 in the second half and Parker had 13 of her 19 after the break to help the Sparks beat the Seattle Storm 77-69 on Saturday and give general manager Penny Toler her first win as a coach.
Ogwumike scored 11 in the final quarter as the Sparks (11-14) moved three games ahead of the Storm (9-18) for the fourth and final Western Conference playoff berth. Parker scored eight in the third quarter as the Sparks pulled away.
Crystal Langhorne scored 21 and Camille Little added 16 to lead Seattle, which has lost five straight and six of seven. Just seven games remain for the Storm in the regular season as they aim for an 11th straight playoff berth.
The Sparks are 4-0 against Seattle this year and have clinched any potential tiebreaker.