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Chelsea Gray’s buzzer-beating layup sends Sparks over Lynx to spoil season opener

May 21, 2018 GMT

Chelsea Grays driving layup as time expired gave the Los Angeles Sparks a 77-76 victory over the Lynx at Target Center Sunday in the WNBA regular-season opener for both teams.

It was a rematch of the last two WNBA finals, and the game occurred after the Lynx spent a half-hour celebrating their 2017 title.

The rest of the afternoon, they spent not looking much like that title team.

The Sparks won despite playing without All-Star Candace Parker, who missed the trip because of a sore back. It was also the first Lynx game at Target Center since Game 5 of the 2016 Finals, which was won by the Sparks; they played the 2017 regular season at Xcel Energy Center before moving to Williams Arena for the postseason.

The Lynx took a 76-75 lead with 5.8 seconds left on two free throws by Lindsay Whalen. But, out of a time out, Gray was able to score with her left hand as time expired.

The Sparks scored 23 points off 24 Lynx turnovers, the story of the game.

Odyssey Sims led the Sparks with 21 points. Nneka Ogwumike had 19 and Gray had 18.

Whalen scored 17 points with nine rebounds for the Lynx. Both Rebekkah Brunson and Sylvia Fowles had 15 points for the Lynx. Maya Moore scored 11 points on 4-for-14 shooting. Brunson, Fowles and Moore combined to turn the ball over 14 times.

It was just the second opening-day loss in coach Cheryl Reeves tenure. They are now 7-2 in openers, with both losses coming to the Sparks.