Alana Beard hit a contested buzzer-beating long two from the corner to give the Los Angeles Sparks a 1-0 lead in the WNBA Finals over the defending champion Minnesota Lynx with a 78-76 road win.
Despite having a two-time former MVP in Candace Parker and current MVP Nneka Ogwumike, coach Brian Agler had Chelsea Gray dribble out the clock and hit Beard for just her second basket of the game to win it.
“We tried to screen for Kristi [Toliver] but they really did a good job on her all night long,” Agler told ABC’s LaChina Robinson after the game. “She fought to get open and didn’t have it. So Chelsea [Gray] took plan B and penetrated the gap and they sucked in out of the corner. She found Alana in the corner and she knocked the shot down.”
Three of four games between the Sparks and Lynx this season have been decided by one possession.
Game 2 tips on Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET again in the Target Center, where Minnesota will be pressured to win one at home before the teams head to L.A.