SEATTLE — Swin Cash had 20 points and five rebounds to lift the Seattle Storm to a 79-66 win over the Sparks in Game 1 of a Western Conference semifinal series.
Lauren Jackson had 17 points and nine rebounds while Camille Little and Jana Vesela each chipped in 11 points for the Storm, who finished the regular season with the best record in the WNBA, including an unblemished home mark.
Marie Ferdinand-Harris had 18 points and Tina Thompson chipped in with 16 points and six boards for the Sparks, who finished in fourth place in the Western Conference. Kristi Toliver had 16 points and five assists in the loss.
Game 2 of this best-of-three series will be in Los Angeles on Saturday.
Trailing by two early in the first quarter, Seattle ran off eight straight points to take the lead for good as Cash's layup with under six minutes to play gave the team a 12-6 lead, and another 7-0 run later in the frame helped make it a 25-15 contest after the first.
The Sparks cut the deficit to six twice in the second quarter, but the Storm were able to maintain the lead, and Sue Bird's three-pointer late in the frame made it a 43-33 game at the break.
Seattle continued to front-run in the third quarter and led by as many as 13 points before taking a 59-48 lead into the final stanza.
Seven straight points from the Sparks made it a 63-55 game on a Ferdinand- Haris layup with 7:07 to play.
A bit later, though, Little and Tanisha Wright hit consecutive three-pointers to put the game out of reach with Wright's making it a 71-57 game with 3:40 to play.