McBride, Appel lead Stars over Sparks, 82-76
SAN ANTONIO (AP) Kayla McBride scored 21 points, Jayne Appel tied a franchise record with 20 rebounds, and the San Antonio Stars beat the Los Angeles Sparks 82-76 on Sunday.
Sophia Young-Malcolm and Danielle Robinson had 14 points apiece, and Jia Perkins added 12 for San Antonio (14-18), which pulled within a half-game of Los Angeles (14-17) for third place in the Western Conference.
Nneka Ogwumike scored 18 points, Jantel Lavender added 15 and Alana Beard had 13 for the Sparks.
San Antonio can clinch a playoff berth with a victory or a loss by the Seattle Storm (11-20), who own a tiebreaker over the Stars.
Perkins hit a floating jumper in the lane with a minute remaining to give San Antonio a 75-74 lead and Robinson stole a pass on the ensuing possession.
Becky Hammon, who had nine points and three assists, drained a 3-pointer with 26 seconds remaining to give San Antonio a 78-74 lead. McBride closed out the victory with a pair of free throws.
After nearly toppling Ogwumike with a crossover dribble, McBride drove by the second-year forward on the baseline for a layup despite being fouled by Lavender. McBride made a free throw to complete the three-point play and give San Antonio a 54-43 lead with 3:34 left in the third quarter.
Ogwumike responded by scoring eight of Los Angeles' final 13 points of the third to cut the lead to 61-56.
The run continued with Lindsey Harding hitting a jumper to put the Sparks ahead 66-65 with 4:48 to play. There were five lead changes following that basket, capped by Perkins' jumper.