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Ogwumike, Augustus help Sparks trounce Mercury

Nneka Ogwumike and Seimone Augustus combined to shoot 14-of-14 from the floor, leading the Los Angeles Sparks to a 99-76 win over the Phoenix Mercury on Saturday afternoon at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.

It was the WNBA season-opener for both teams, but the Sparks seemed to be in midseason form, shooting 55.9 percent from the floor — including 9 of 20 from 3-point range — and 82.4 percent on free throws.

Ogwumike, the 2016 league MVP, posted a game-high 21 points and added seven rebounds. She made 8-for-8 from the floor, including both 3-point attempts.

Augustus came off the bench to score 14 points, finishing 6-for-6 from the floor, including making two 3-pointers.

Sparks center Candace Parker, a five-time All-Star who has twice been named league MVP, had 13 points and seven rebounds.

Mercury wing Diana Taurasi, who was held to just six games last year due to back and hamstring injuries, scored 16 points but shot just 1-for-7 on three-pointers. She is a five-time league scoring champ, and four-time Olympic gold medalist and a two-time WNBA Finals MVP.

Mercury center Brittney Griner, a six-time All-Star who has led the league in blocks the past seven straight years, was held to eight points. She added nine rebounds and two blocks.

Guard Skylar Diggins-Smith, a four-time All-Star, made her Mercury debut and had 14 points and six assists. She missed the entire 2019 season after giving birth to her son.

The teams were tied 22-22 after one quarter, but the Sparks used a 5-0 run in the final 42 seconds of the first half to grab a 50-46 lead at the break. The first half featured 13 lead changes and 10 tie scores.

Phoenix was outscored 30-8 in the third quarter as Los Angeles extended its lead to 80-54 and cruised to the finish.

The Sparks are playing this season without guard Kristi Toliver and forward Chiney Ogwumike, who are both out due to health concerns.

–Field Level Media

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