Los Angeles, Calif. – Strong defense and 31 points from Maya Moore propelled the Minnesota Lynx past the Los Angeles Sparks Sunday in WNBA Finals Game 4, to force a deciding fifth game.
Lindsay Whalen added 13 points and Seimone Augustus, 12, while Sylvia Fowles had 10 points and 13 rebounds. The win ties the series at 2-2 and sends it back to Minnesota for a Thursday showdown.
Chelsea Gray came off the bench to lead Los Angeles with 20 points, including four three-point shots. Four other Sparks players notched double figures.
The two teams matched each other in the first half, changing leads five time and tying six before the break. The Lynx went on a run early in the third quarter to build their lead to 10 before Moore and Gray began trading three-point shots. Minnesota lead 65-59 going into the final period.
The Sparks opened the quarter on a 10-4 run to tie the score at 69, but Whalen’s back-to-back buckets put the Lynx back up by four. Gray kept her team in it with another three-pointer, but Candace Parker was called for a controversial shooting foul with 12.4 seconds to go, and Rebekkah Brunson made both free throws to put the visitors up by four.
Before the foul, it appeared that Minnesota hadn’t brought the ball across half court before the league-allotted eight seconds, which would have been a back court violation. However, no call was made.
Moore stole an inbounds pass in the game’s waning seconds, and Los Angeles forward Nneka Ogwumike fouled her. Moore made both free throws to seal the win.
The defending champion Lynx will play a Game 5 at home for the second year in a row.