The epic battle of the top two Western Conference teams went to the Minnesota Lynx as they clawed past the Los Angeles Sparks 83-74. With almost 10,000 fans in attendance, the atmosphere felt like a an early playoff game 5 vibe with everything on the line.
Seimone Augustus finished with 23 points as the Lynx increase their lead in the West to 2 1/2 games over the Sparks.
The Lynx opened up the game with a 8-0 lead before the Sparks woke up, and went on a 13-2 run and stayed competitively in the game in the first quarter.
Kristi Toliver scored his first bucket of the game in the second quarter followed by a huge three pointer by Marrissa Coleman that gave the Sparks the 23-20 lead.
However the Lynx blew open the second quarter with their run and gun offense that the Sparks could not contain nor defend well. To add insult to injury Janel McCarville launched a huge three pointer at the buzzer for the 44-35 lead. Parker lead the Sparks with 14 points at the half.
The second half would be no different as the Lynx continued their offensive onslaught jumping out to a 16 point lead. The Sparks fought back to trim the lead down to 74-68. Coming out of the timeout, the Lynx remained sharp when Augustus knocked down a big jumper with less than a minute to go. Moore was superb from the line making four straight free throws that sealed the victory.
"We've had that throughout the season. We've had collapses in quarters," Parker said. "Every time we're trying to fight back in the fourth because we gave it away in the first or second quarter."
"Turnovers dug us a hole in that second quarter, and it really got them energized, got the crowd into it," Sparks coach Carol Ross said. "Those are things you don't want to happen. They're good enough without all that."
Kristi Toliver finished with 14 points.
The Lynx shot an remarkable 51% from the field.
These same two teams will meet next Thursday at Staples Center for their final regular season engagement.
The Sparks face the Tulsa Shock on the road on Friday, then return home for their final two games.
The Lynx face a scrappy Seattle Storm team on the road and finished their season at home against a hot Chicago Sky team who sits atop of the Eastern Conference.