Backup guard Renee Montgomery scored nine points to help Seattle flip an early 12-point deficit to beat Los Angeles, 68-61. The Storm is 3-0 against the Sparks this season.
One stat Storm coach Jenny Boucek likes to monitor is bench production. In Seattle’s rebuild project, she’d like to not have lulls between the varying lineups.
There haven’t been.
Boucek used her seventh starting lineup Wednesday and the reserves remained strong. Guard Renee Montgomery led the bench, helping Seattle flip an early 12-point deficit into a 68-61 victory against Los Angeles at KeyArena.
“Everyone accepts whatever role she (Boucek) gives us and that’s a big deal with a team,” said Montgomery, who scored five of her nine points in the deciding third quarter.
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Seattle’s reserves outscored Los Angeles’ 17-13 overall.
“Once we find groups that are getting rhythms, we’re trying to ride them as much as possible,” Boucek said. “But we also want to stay strong and use our depth because we have great depth. (It’s about) keeping people fresh and keeping a high level of energy.”
Down 37-35 to open the second half, Seattle went on a 14-5 run to take control of the game. Rookie Jewell Loyd gave the team its first lead (41-40) off a steal and fast-break layin. Montgomery capped the run with a jumper to make the score 49-42 with 4:25 on the clock.
In addition to the offense, the Storm converted seven Sparks turnovers into six points while only committing one. Sparks All-Star Nneka Ogwumike was harassed the most, committing four in the quarter.
Ogwumike had eight turnovers in the game. Overall, Seattle scored 26 points off 25 L.A. turnovers.
“Our defense was phenomenal,” said Loyd, who finished with a game-high 13 points with four assists. “We had really good post activity and they (Crystal Langhorne and Quanitra Hollingsworth) led us in steals. But as a whole, our energy level kept rising as the game progressed.”
The Storm used a 12-2 run late in the second quarter to briefly tie the score at 33 on a three-pointer by Montgomery. The Sparks, who are winless in seven games on the road, closed the half with a 37-35 lead.
Ogwumike led L.A. with 12 points and seven rebounds.
“Seattle did a really good job in attacking us,” said first-year Sparks coach Brian Agler, who led the Storm to its 2010 WNBA title.
Seattle is 3-0 against the Sparks but Wednesday was the first matchup with Ogwumike, who started the season with an ankle injury, and All-Star guard Kristi Toliver, who had an overseas obligation.
Los Angeles (2-11) was without All-Star Alana Beard (foot) and reserve guard Farhiya Abdi (knee). Seattle (4-12) plays L.A. once more in August.
“Man, if it wasn’t for L.A., we’d have one win,” Montgomery said. “I wish we could beat other teams, too, but we’ll take what we can get.”