UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) — Candace Parker had 33 points and 16 rebounds to lead the Los Angeles Sparks to an 87-81 victory over the Connecticut Sun on Wednesday night.
Nneka Ogwumike, the top pick in this year's WNBA draft, had 18 points and five rebounds for Los Angeles (7-1). Reserve Jantel Lavender added 10 points and eight rebounds, and Parker also had eight assists and five blocks.
Tina Charles had 19 points and 13 rebounds to lead Connecticut (6-2). Kara Lawson had 16 points and four assists and Asjha Jones added 10 points and eight rebounds.
The Sparks trailed 81-80 with more than a minute left when Parker blocked Charles' layup attempt.
Ogwumike was fouled by Jones as Los Angeles brought the ball up and the rookie made both her free throws to put the Sparks ahead for good with 1:05 to go.
The Sun missed three shots on their next possession and Ogwumike converted a three-point play to extend the Sparks' lead to 85-81. Parker closed the scoring with two free throws with 1.6 seconds remaining.
The Sparks shot 46 percent (33 for 72), led by Parker's 12-for-22 effort. The Sun shot just 33 percent (28 of 84).
Connecticut trailed 80-75 when Lawson and Charles made two free throws each 29 seconds apart to pull the Sun within a point with 2:00 to go.
Charles' putback of her own miss put the Sun ahead 33 seconds later.
Ogwumike's three-point play tied the score at 75-all with 5:03 remaining. Parker followed with a 3-pointer and a putback to give the Sparks an 80-75 edge with 3:08 left.
Connecticut led 45-40 at halftime and scored six consecutive points to extend their lead to eight a little more than 2 minutes into the third quarter.
The Sparks scored the next 10 points to take a 54-52 lead with about 5 1/2 minutes left in the quarter.
The teams played close the rest of the way, with Connecticut's four-point lead late in the third the largest lead for either team until the final minutes.