Sparks tie WNBA record for best start at 20-1

Sparks forward Nneka Ogwumike, left, reacts after forcing sister and Connecticut Sun forward Chiney Ogwumike, right, into a shot clock violation during the second half.
(Jessica Hill / Associated Press)

Jantel Lavender scored a career-high 25 points and the Los Angeles Sparks beat the Connecticut Sun 98-92 in overtime Friday night to tie the 1998 Houston Comets for the best start in WNBA history. 

Lavender added a season-high 10 rebounds, and Kristi Tolliver scored eight of her 24 points in overtime for the Sparks (20-1). They’ve won nine in a row and are 9-0 on the road. 

Tolliver made the last of her four 3s to give the Sparks a 93-92 lead with 1:31 left in overtime and ignite an 8-0 run to close the game. 

Connecticut (6-15) missed its final three field-goal attempts and committed turnovers on three consecutive possessions after Tolliver’s clinching 3-pointer. 


The Sun’s Alyssa Thomas made 1 of 2 free throws with 10 seconds left in regulation to force overtime. Tolliver missed a 3-pointer as time expired. 

Connecticut led 62-46 with 8 minutes left in the third quarter, but Nneka Ogwumike scored nine points during a 16-2 run that pulled the Sparks within two. Los Angeles took its first lead, 81-80, on a 3-pointer by Ogwumike with 1:37 remaining in regulation. 

Ogwumike finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds. 

Thomas had 17 points and a career-high 12 rebounds for the Sun. Chiney Ogwumike, Nneka’s sister, added 16 points and a season-high 13 rebounds. 


Go beyond the scoreboard

Get the latest on L.A.'s teams in the daily Sports Report newsletter.

You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.