LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Sparks put an exclamation point on a stellar season, defeating the visiting Minnesota Lynx 77-68 on Sunday, Sept. 8, at the Staples Center, snapping the visitors' five-game winning streak and foiling their bid to host a playoff game.
In a meaningless game for the Sparks, the starters played into the fourth quarter on the final day of the WNBA regular season. The Sparks (22-12), who won their third straight, had the No. 3 seed sewn up entering the game and will host a playoff game on Sept. 15.
A win would have given the Lynx a home playoff game Wednesday against the Seattle Storm. But their loss, combined with the Storm's win in Dallas, means the Lynx (18-16) get the No. 7 seed and will travel to Seattle.
Sparks starters Riquna Williams scored 15 points, Chelsea Gray tallied 14 points, eight assists and six rebounds, Nneka Ogwumike posted 12 points, and Candace Parker had 11 points and seven boards before departing.
The Sparks' reserves finished off the Lynx for the win.
Rookie of the Year candidate Napheesa Collier recorded game-high totals of 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Lynx.
Williams hit back-to-back 3-pointers in the first 1:15 of the third quarter to give Los Angeles a 42-34 advantage. Williams connected on a four-point play a short time later to extend the lead to 48-38 with 5:46 remaining. Williams was fouled by Danielle Robinson while hitting a 26-foot 3-pointer.
The Sparks maintained their 10-point lead by taking a 58-48 lead into the fourth quarter. Williams scored 10 points in the quarter.
The Sparks took a 36-34 lead into halftime on the strength of a potent inside game. The Sparks scored 30 points in the paint and were led by Parker with nine points and Gray and Ogwumike with eight apiece.
The Sparks went just 1-for-10 from the 3-point line in the first half.
Gray scored eight points in the first quarter, including a buzzer-beater to cap a 10-0 run that gave Los Angeles a 19-16 lead. Gray and Parker scored the last 15 points of the quarter.