The Seattle Storm led wire-to-wire and held off a fourth-quarter rally to down the Los Angeles Sparks, 81-75, on Saturday in Bradenton, Fla.
The Storm (3-1) raced out to a 9-0 lead in Saturday's opening minutes thanks in part to Jewell Loyd. She scored the game's first five points, setting the tone for a 17-point performance.
Seattle extended its lead to double digits for much of the second and third quarters. The Storm's first two games in the bubble were wins of 16 and 24 points against New York and Minnesota. With a 16-point halftime lead, Seattle appeared headed to another lopsided win.
But the Sparks (2-2) chipped away at the deficit behind a double-double performance of 19 points and a game-high 12 rebounds from Candace Parker.
Los Angeles went on an 8-1 run to open the fourth quarter, slicing the deficit to three points. Nneka Ogwumike laid in two of her 14 points with a little more than two minutes remaining, pulling the Sparks back within four points, but they could get no closer.
Breanna Stewart helped pace Seattle with 21 points and provided answers to keep Los Angeles at bay down the stretch. On back-to-back, crucial possessions in the final three minutes, Stewart delivered one of her five assists to Alysha Clark for a bucket.
The next time down the floor, Stewart hit a contested hook under duress. Stewart added nine rebounds to her key offensive performance.
Four Storm starters scored in double figures, including Jordin Canada, who posted 16 points with four rebounds and three assists in her first start of the season. Canada filled in for Sue Bird, who was taking a scheduled rest.
Clark added 11 points and Ezi Magbegor scored 12 points and grabbed five rebounds off the bench.
Riquna Williams was one of four Sparks to score in double-figures. She hit 4 of 7 3-pointers en route to 16 points.
Seimone Augustus added 12 points in the loss.
--Field Level Media