Mon, Oct 02, 2017 - Page 11 News List

LA Sparks one win away from second WNBA trophy

AP, LOS ANGELES

Sylvia Fowles of the Minnesota Lynx attempts a shot over Candace Parker and Jantel Lavender of the Los Angeles Sparks in Los Angeles on Friday.

Photo: AFP

Los Angeles Sparks star Nneka Ogwumike was on Saturday sporting a clear bandage under her eye. It was not hiding the five stitches she received after Minnesota Lynx center Sylvia Fowles used her arm to track down a rebound in the fourth quarter in Game 3 of the WNBA Finals.

Ogwumike was quick to say Fowles did not do it intentionally.

“I saw it happening and it was like a fumble and when she went to get it she kind of flung her arm,” Ogwumike said. “It just kind of split the skin, but I think AB [Alana Beard] came up with the rebound.”

It is easy for the Sparks to find silver linings. They dominated the boards on Friday en route to beating the Lynx 75-64 in Game 3 and they are now one win away from hoisting the championship trophy at Staples Center.

The Sparks have plenty of experience given that they won last year and can become the first team since 2002 to win back-to-back titles.

The Sparks could envision hoisting that trophy with their fans — there was a sellout crowd of 13,500 on Friday in Game 3.

The Lynx face elimination, but can force a Game 5 in Minnesota on Wednesday with a win. They were in a similar situation last year and forced a fifth game.

Fowles said she and Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve had a one-on-one conversation on Saturday morning.

“I think for the most part we respond well when our backs are against the wall,” Fowles said. “I don’t like those back-up-against-the-wall type of situations. Unfortunately, that’s where we are at this point.”

While the Sparks had a balanced offense, the Lynx backcourt struggled as Seimone Augustus and Lindsay Whalen were both scoreless.

“I’ve got to be more aggressive,” Augustus said. “I’ve got to get the ball. I can’t shoot air. Our offense was very stagnant. Didn’t execute the way we wanted to, so it created a lot of one-on-one situations for everything.”

The Sparks believe they will play well in a closeout situation.

“I think we’re a different team, even from the semi-finals,” Ogwumike said. “We’ve learned a lot along the way. We have experience, I guess you could say, in closing games out.”

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