The Sports Xchange

Sparks 70, Sun 69

A Nneka Ogwumike steal led to a Kristi Toliver 3-pointer with nine seconds left as the Los Angeles Sparks came from behind to beat the Connecticut Sun 70-69 on Sunday at the Staples Center.

With the victory, the Sparks improved to 13-15, while Connecticut fell for the 12th time in its last 15 games, dropping to 11-18 and harming its playoff chances.

Guard Alana Beard led the Sparks with 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting, while Ogwumike added 17. Connecticut's Chiney Ogwumike, Nneka's sister, finished with a game-high 23 points and 13 rebounds, and the Sun's Katie Douglas had 15.

Los Angeles star forward/center Candace Parker, who missed the previous two games because a strained left knee, returned to the Sparks and ended with nine points.

Connecticut seemed to have the game in control, ahead 69-65, with 15 seconds left. But a Parker basket made it 69-67, followed by Nneka Ogwumike's steal on an Alyssa Thomas inbounds pass, setting up Toliver's game-winning basket.

Connecticut took a 28-27 lead into halftime. There were two lead changes in the half, with the Sun dominating the first quarter and Los Angeles the second. But it was Connecticut guard Douglas who hit a 24-foot 3-pointer to close the half and give the Sun the edge entering intermission.

Neither team shot well in the half. The Sun were 11 of 33 (33 percent), while Los Angeles did not fare much better, making 11 of 29 (38 percent). Connecticut outscored the Sparks in the paint, 18-16, and turned the ball over nine times to the Sparks' 11 turnovers.

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