Kristi Toliver saved a drama-filled Los Angeles season by nailing five three-pointers to help the Sparks clinch a playoff berth on Tuesday. LA won at Minnesota, 71-63, to seal the spot and effectively eliminate Tulsa (12-20).
“We’re a playoff team and we wanted to do our own work,” said Toliver, who tied a career-high in scoring 29 points. “We didn’t want to have to rely on other teams losing and different circumstances. We wanted to take care of our own business, and that’s why we came out the way we did tonight. We wanted to close the door.”
The Sparks began the year without a franchise owner and saw its coach fired after the All-Star break. LA, which was pegged to contend for the WNBA championship, pushed through the adversity and could finish with the third seed in the Western Conference. That would make Tuesday’s Sparks (15-17) win against the Lynx (24-8) a first-round preview.
Phoenix clinched the top-overall seed with a win in New York on Tuesday. San Antonio (14-18) has two games remaining and could win the No. 3 seed outright or via tiebreaker, defeating LA 3-1 in the regular-season series. The Stars host the Lynx on Friday.
Seattle (12-20) has to win its two remaining games (LA, Phoenix) and have San Antonio lose its two remaining games to clinch a playoff berth via tiebreakers, defeating San Antonio 3-1 in the regular-season series.
Here are the highlights from LA’s big Tuesday win: