Parker leads Sparks in 99-84 rout of Sky for 2-0 series lead
LOS ANGELES (AP) Candace Parker scored 20 points and the Los Angeles Sparks cruised past the Chicago Sky 99-84 on Friday night to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-5 WNBA semifinals.
League sixth woman of the year Jantel Lavender added 20 points, league MVP Nneka Ogwumike had 18, Kristi Toliver 17 and Essence Carson 11 in the Sparks' return to their home court at Staples Center. They won Game 1 by 20 points in Long Beach on Wednesday.
Parker added 12 rebounds and eight assists for the Sparks, who shot 54 percent from the field. She and Ogwumike sat down with 4 1/2 minutes remaining.
Toliver hit four of the Sparks' 10 3-pointers. The Sky were 3 of 13 from long-range.
Reserve Clarissa Dos Santos scored 15 points and Jamierra Faulkner added 14 off the bench for the Sky. Cappie Pondexter had 13.
Chicago rallied to close within 10 after trailing by 21 early in the third, led by Courtney Vandersloot and Tamera Young, who finished with 12.
The Sparks recovered, going on a 10-1 run that extended their lead to 78-59 going into the fourth. Chelsea Gray had a three-point play and passed to a streaking Lavender, who converted on the fast break before hitting a 20-foot jumper herself.
Just as in Game 1, the Sparks rode a big second quarter to a dominating lead. Two nights earlier, they scored 30 points in the period. This time, they outscored the Sky 29-15, including a 12-0 run to open the quarter. The offensive load was distributed among four players: Carson had eight points, Ogwumike added seven, and Parker and Lavender had six each.
The Sparks improved to 5-0 against the Sky, including three regular-season victories. ... Sparks G Alana Beard and Ogwumike were named to the WNBA's All-Defensive first team. ... Brian Agler of the Sparks finished second to Minnesota's Cheryl Reeve in the voting for league coach of the year. ... Sparks co-owner Magic Johnson introduced Olympic track champion Allyson Felix to a standing ovation in the third, drawing a shy smile from the low-key Felix. ... Also on hand was Clippers All-Star Chris Paul, retired Lakers star Derek Fisher and Kiki Vandeweghe, the NBA's vice president of basketball operations.
WHAT A SHOT
Toliver hit a 3-pointer that beat the buzzer to end the first quarter. Sandwiched between two defenders, she tossed up the ball from the left side while falling down, giving the Sparks a 28-27 lead after they had been outscored 11-2.
Sky star Elena Delle Donne watched in street clothes again because of a right thumb injury. She shared the league scoring title with New York's Tina Charles, averaging 21. 5 points.
Game 3 is Sunday in Chicago.