The previous record was 16 by Taj McWilliams-Franklin for Connecticut in 2005.
Lindsay Whalen scored 14 points, Rebekkah Brunson had 12 and the Lynx held the defending champions to 38.7 percent shooting while bouncing back from a last-second loss in Game 1.
Candace Parker had 17 points, six assists and five rebounds for the Sparks, who had the ball and a chance to tie or take the lead with 13.1 seconds to play. But Chelsea Gray lost the handle on her dribble for a turnover, one of two big ones by Los Angeles in the final 14 seconds.
Game 3 of the best-of-five series is Friday night in Los Angeles.
Gray scored 15 points and Nneka Ogwumike had 11 points and 13 rebounds for Los Angeles.
Fowles, the regular season MVP, dominated the glass a game after the Lynx did not grab a single rebound in the first quarter of their series-opening loss.
Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve torched her proud, veteran team Monday after getting behind 28-2 in the first eight minutes Sunday. She took little solace in watching them rally to a late lead, saying any pats on the back were from "Loserville."
The Lynx responded in a major way in Game 2, grabbing a 15-point lead in the first eight minutes. They held Ogwumike and Parker to a combined 0-for-11 in the first half, and Los Angeles shot just 28 percent in the first two quarters.
But just like the Lynx didn't give up in Game 1, the Sparks wouldn't go away this time. Parker capped an 11-3 run that cut Minnesota's lead to three with 1:21 to play, and Brunson was whistled for a questionable foul on Parker on the next possession. She converted both free throws to make it 70-68, and Maya Moore missed a jumper on the other end.
With Seimone Augustus hounding her, Alana Beard was whistled for a 5-second call on the inbounds pass. The Sparks had one more shot, but Gray, who beat the Lynx with a jumper in the final seconds of Game 1, couldn't come up with the heroics for a second straight game.
The Sparks are trying to become the first repeat champions since 2002, and they head home having earned a split at raucous Williams Arena.