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Breanna Stewart, Storm bounce back, beat Sparks 81-75 without Bird

Seattle Storm forward Breanna Stewart (30) goes up for a shot in front of New York Liberty's Leaonna Odom, right, during the second half of a WNBA basketball game, Saturday, July 25, 2020, in Ellenton, Fla.  (Associated Press)
Seattle Storm forward Breanna Stewart (30) goes up for a shot in front of New York Liberty's Leaonna Odom, right, during the second half of a WNBA basketball game, Saturday, July 25, 2020, in Ellenton, Fla. (Associated Press)
Associated Press

BRADENTON, Fla. — Breanna Stewart had 21 points, nine rebounds, five assists and four steals and the Seattle Storm never trailed in their 81-75 win over the Los Angeles Sparks on Saturday night.

Jewell Loyd added 17 points, Jordin Canada – starting in place of Sue Bird (rest) – scored a season-high 16 and rookie Ezi Magbegor had a career-high 12 points for Seattle.

The Storm (3-1) bounced back from an 89-71 loss to the Washington Mystics on Thursday.

Candace Parker had 19 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Sparks (2-2). Riquna Williams hit 4 of 7 from 3-point range and finished with 16 points and Nneka Ogwumike scored 14.

Canada’s short jumper midway through the fourth quarter ended the Storm’s streak of nearly eight minutes without a field goal and Loyd followed with a 3-pointer to make it 73-65 with 4:19 to go. Parker and Ogwumike made baskets 13 seconds apart to make it a four-point game with two minutes remaining but neither team scored again until Canada made two free throws with 35.5 seconds to play that made it 79-73. Chelsea Gray made a putback of a missed 3-pointer by Brittney Sykes but Magbegor answered with a layup less than two seconds later to cap the scoring.

Seattle scored the first nine points and led 14-1 after Canada made a layup fewer than four minutes into the game and took a 16-point lead into halftime. Williams hit three third-quarter 3-pointers and the Sparks trimmed their deficit to 65-55 going into the fourth and after Stewart made 1-of-2 free throws, Seimone Augustus, who finished with 12 points, hit a jumper and then back-to-back 3s to pull Los Angeles within three with 6:48 to play.

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