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Stars outshine Sparks for crucial win

Photo: Twitter.com/AAF
Kayla McBride scored 21 points on Sunday. (Photo by Rebecca George)
Kayla McBride scored 21 points on Sunday. (Photo by Rebecca George)

AT&T Center — San Antonio Stars head coach Dan Hughes says Kayla McBride does not play like a rookie. On Sunday afternoon she played like a veteran as she carried her team to a much needed win.

McBride scored 21 points as the Stars defeated the Los Angeles Sparks 82-76 in front of 9,573 fans inside the AT&T Center to end their four-game losing streak. Center Jayne Appel had a franchise record 20 rebounds to go along with eight points in the win.

Sophia Young-Malcolm and Danielle Robinson added 14 points each, while Jia Perkins chipped in 12 for San Antonio, who moved a 1/2 game behind Los Angeles for third place in the Western Conference.

“We had a better focus,” McBride said. “We knew we needed this game and we had help down the post with Parker and Lavender. With Jayne getting those rebounds, it helped us out as well.”

Los Angeles was led by Nneka Ogwumike who finished with 18 points. Jantel Lavender added 15 and Alana Beard had 13 for the Sparks (14-17), who failed to clinch a playoff spot with a loss.

Candace Parker struggled and finished with six points on 3-of-12 shooting.

“Parker is a tough guard,” Hughes said following the game. “I thought K-Mac defensively was very good and Danielle Robinson helped us in a lot of situations. I’m not sure if it was much us, we got fortunate the ball did not go in for her.”

The Stars led by one with less than a minute to play when Becky Hammon, who finished with nine points, hit a three-pointer to put San Antonio up 78-74.

”Missed defensive assignment, obviously” Los Angeles head coach Penny Toler said. ”At the end of the day, I don’t want to blame one person. It’s unfortunate that it came down to that. Obviously, when Becky comes in, you know what she’s coming in to do.”

San Antonio’s magic number to clinch a playoff berth was reduced to one with the victory. The Stars will need one win in their final two games or a loss by the Seattle Storm to punch their ticket to the postseason.

Seattle’s win over the Tulsa Shock late Sunday night puts the Storm just two games behind San Antonio for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

The Stars are now 14-18 on the season and will return to the court on Friday when they welcome Maya Moore and the Minnesota Lynx to the AT&T Center at 7 p.m. Following the game is a retirement ceremony for Becky Hammon.

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Stephen Michael 26, is a journalist, social media coordinator, host, and entertainment reporter. Michael graduated in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in Communication Arts and earned a Master's Degree in Digital Media in 2020 from the University of the Incarnate Word. He has worked covering the San Antonio Rampage, Stars, and San Antonio Futbol Club. He was the host of the Project Spurs Roundtable on NBC affiliate News 4 San Antonio from 2015-17.


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