Toliver, Parker rally Sparks past Shock in OT
TULSA, Okla. (AP) Kristi Toliver came through with big shots in her first game back with the Los Angeles Sparks.
Toliver made two free throws and then hit a 3-pointer to give the Sparks the lead for good late in overtime and Los Angeles held on to beat the Tulsa Shock 92-89 on Saturday.
''That's my job,'' said Toliver, who missed six games while helping Slovakia qualify for the European National Championship. ''That's what I get paid to do. We needed a big basket and that's what I do.''
Nneka Ogwumike had 22 points on 10-for-14 shooting from the field to lead the Sparks (6-8), who recovered for their second straight win after giving up a 15-point lead in the second half. Jantel Lavender had 16 points and 11 rebounds, Candace Parker scored 15 points and Toliver finished with 12.
Toliver's 3 put the Sparks up 87-85 with 1:21 left in the extra period and Los Angeles made five free throws in the final 27 seconds to seal the win.
''It's a good win,'' said Parker, who also scored five points in overtime. ''This is our first back-to-back wins this season. It's obviously great to have Kristi back. She hit some big shots.''
Parker credited the team's defense in the extra period for the ability to overcome struggles this season.
''We were able to get some stops down the stretch,'' she said.
Skylar Diggins scored 29 points for the Shock (6-8), who had won two straight. Rookie Odyssey Sims had 17 points and a season-high 10 assists while Courtney Paris had 12 points and 15 rebounds for her eighth double-double this season.
Los Angeles opened the game with an 11-4 run and led 47-32 at halftime.
Ogwumike left the game briefly in the first quarter after being hit on the nose and returned wearing a facemask.
Tulsa (6-8) struggled early as the Sparks did a good job of limiting scoring touches for Diggins and Sims, who were a combined 4 for 9 from the field in the first half.
''We battled, we just weren't getting the shots to fall early,'' Tulsa coach Fred Williams said. ''We were chasing them most of the first half.''
The Sparks' first-year coach said the team ''laced up the sneakers'' in the second half and started to run.
''We had them on their heels,'' Williams said of Tulsa's 22 third quarter points. ''We got back into it and into a flow.''
Tulsa took its first lead of the game, 69-68 with 8:37 left in the fourth quarter on the first of back-to-back 3-pointers from Jordan Hooper, who finished with nine points And despite building a four-point lead down the stretch, the Shock couldn't get a good shot off at the buzzer after Lavender's basket with 17 seconds remaining tied the score at 80.
''It came down to one or two shots that didn't fall,'' Williams added.
In OT, the Sparks pulled away at the free throw line, hitting 7 of 10 free throws.