Sylvia Fowles had 20 points and 13 rebounds, Renee Montgomery scored a season-high 20 points, and the Minnesota Lynx beat the Los Angeles Sparks 88-77 on Thursday night in a rematch of the WNBA Finals.
Los Angeles won the title last year, taking the deciding fifth game in Minnesota on Nneka Ogwumike’s short jumper with 3.1 seconds left.
On Thursday, Minnesota (13-1) was ahead by 19 points in the first half, but Los Angeles (12-4) cut it to 53-49 midway through the third quarter. The Sparks had won eight straight.
Plenette Pierson’s three-pointer from the wing with 7:31 left gave Minnesota its first double-digit lead of the fourth quarter. Fowles made a layup for an 84-77 lead with 1:23 left. After a Los Angeles turnover, Rebekkah Brunson followed her own miss for a nine-point lead.
Seimone Augustus added 16 points for Minnesota, and Maya Moore had 10 to move past Asjha Jones for 30th in WNBA history with 4,007.
Ogwumike had 27 points and 14 rebounds for Los Angeles. Candace Parker was scoreless in the first half and her only points came on a fast-break layup with 6:26 left in the third quarter. It was only her second game this season scoring under 10 points.
Minnesota’s backups outscored Los Angeles’ 33-17, highlighted by Montgomery’s four three-pointers.
“The bench is everything to us,” Sylvia Fowles said after her eighth double-double of the season. “When we can’t get it done, they always come in to give us that extra push. We rely on them a lot. So I’m happy that they were ready tonight and they came out and gave us that edge.”
Montgomery made a three-pointer to give Minnesota an 18-8 lead and her second 3 of the quarter made it 23-14. The Lynx led by 11 after the first quarter as Los Angeles turned it over six times.
At the end of the third quarter, Montgomery dribbled down the clock and caught a defender on a pump fake before draining her fourth straight 3-pointer for a 68-61 lead.