Seattle Storm eliminated from playoffs; fall 69-92 to LA Sparks

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Chelsea Gray had 21 points and eight assists, Candace Parker added 11 points, 10 rebounds and six assists, and the Los Angeles Sparks beat Seattle 92-69 on Sunday to eliminate the defending-champion Storm from the WNBA playoffs.

No. 3 seed Los Angeles advance to play second-seeded Connecticut, which earned a double-bye to the semifinals. The best-of-five series begins Tuesday in Connecticut. The WNBA said that they will pay for charter flights for the winners of the second-round games to fly east so that the teams can have a full day to prepare for the first game of the semifinals.

Natasha Howard gave the Storm their first lead since early in the second quarter with a 3-pointer that made it 56-55 with 3:11 left in the third but Parker answered with a layup, Gray hit a pull-up jumper and, after a short basket by Seattle's Jewell Loyd, the Sparks scored 21 of the next 24 points to pull away for good.

Nneka Ogwumike scored 17 points and Riquna Williams added 11 for the Sparks (22-12).

Natasha Howard led the Storm with 20 points, 11 rebounds and four steals.