Los Angeles Sparks, Minnesota Lynx win WNBA playoff semifinal openers

Los Angeles Sparks guard Odyssey Sims vies for the ball against the Phoenix Mercury's Leilani Mitchell, rear, and Monique Currie, front right, during the second half of a WNBA playoff game Tuesday in Los Angeles. (AP photo)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Nneka Ogwumike scored 19 points to lead five starters in double figures, and the Los Angeles Sparks opened defense of their WNBA championship with a 79-66 victory over the Phoenix Mercury in Game 1 of the semifinals Tuesday.

Candace Parker added 15 points while playing with five fouls. Ogwumike overcame four fouls. Chelsea Gray had 13 points, Odyssey Sims 12 and Alana Beard 11.

Leilani Mitchell led the Mercury with 19 points and made five 3-pointers, both career playoff highs. Brittney Griner added 18 points before fouling out with 4:44 left in the game. Diana Taurasi went 2 of 10 from the floor for a career playoff low six points.


Lynx 101, Mystics 81

Washington Mystics guard Elena Delle Donne, left, drives on Minnesota Lynx forward Maya Moore during the first half of a WNBA playoff game on Tuesday in Minneapolis. (AP photo)

At Minneapolis, Seimone Augustus scored 24 points and Sylvia Fowles added 18 to help the Lynx roll in their semifinal opener.

Augustus made 11 of 17 shots and the Lynx looked sharp after a week off. The Lynx will play all of their playoff games at the University of Minnesota’s Williams Arena after playing the regular season at Xcel Energy Center, home of the Minnesota Wild.

Elena Delle Donne had 17 points for the Mystics, who had a quick turnaround after beating the Liberty in New York on Sunday. After setting a playoff record with nine 3-pointers in the victory over New York on Sunday, Mystics guard Kristi Toliver scored just three points on 1-for-7 shooting.