Nneka Ogwumike stars for Sparks in win over Mystics

Sparks forward Nneka Ogwumike shoots against the Chicago Sky.
Sparks forward Nneka Ogwumike scored 21 points in the team’s 84-82 win over the Washington Mystics on Tuesday.
(Kamil Krzaczynski / Associated Press)

The Sparks needed a win. Nneka Ogwumike made it happen.

With 10.4 seconds left in Tuesday night’s game, Ogwumike’s two free throws put just enough distance between the Sparks and a Washington Mystics team that came roaring back late to nearly tie things up in the fourth quarter.

Home from Texas after a 10-point loss to the Dallas Wings on Sunday, the star forward scored 21 points and grabbed six rebounds, willing her team to a tight 84-82 win at Arena.

On the day that marked two weeks since interim coach Fred Williams took over June 7, the Sparks ended their three-game losing streak. The poor defense that fueled the slump was much improved, as the Sparks forced 17 Washington turnovers and recorded 11 steals, three by Ogwumike.


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Drafted by the Sparks in 2012, the forward out of Stanford has served as the team’s pillar amid coaching changes and inconsistency. With disruptive defense and efficient shooting, Ogwumike led the Sparks to a 35-31 first-half edge.

Katie Lou Samuelson added 13 points on five-for-10 shooting, and center Liz Cambage had nine points and six rebounds.