CARSON, Calif. (AP) — A change of scenery did nothing to alter Sue Bird's shooting.
Bird scored 22 points and the Seattle Storm beat the Los Angeles Sparks 79-75 on Saturday night in the WNBA's second outdoor game.
Bird made four of eight 3-pointers and enjoyed playing under the stars at the tennis stadium of the Home Depot Center.
"It was great, it felt really nice out there," Bird said. "Nothing really affected the game and it was nice to be outside."
Lauren Jackson had 17 points and nine rebounds, Camille Little scored 16 points and Swin Cash had 12 to help Seattle (7-1) win its third straight.
Candace Parker led the Sparks (1-6) with 24 points and eight rebounds, Tina Thompson had 17 points and Kristi Tolliver added 15.
The Storm took control of the game 3 minutes into the second quarter.
Los Angeles trailed by 16 in the fourth quarter before pulling to 69-66 when Thompson's layup capped an 18-6 run.
"When we made a run, it made me feel good as a coach to know this team is not giving up," Sparks coach Jennifer Gillom said. "They're mentally tough, they're fighting through our problems right now."
However, Bird made two critical jumpers, including a 3-pointer, to help Seattle hold on.
"They were the daggers for us tonight," Gillom said. "We got a couple of stops that got us right back in the game within two or three points of winning and then she'd come up and hit a huge shot."
"I think that every market should do an outdoor game," Orender said. "Basketball's an outdoor game. There's an outdoor culture of people playing outside."
The Indiana Fever beat the New York Liberty 71-55 on July 19, 2008, at New York City's Arthur Ashe Stadium, site of the U.S. Open, in the league's first outdoor game.
The Storm outrebounded the Sparks 32-27 and had five more assists. Los Angeles was just 2 for 12 on 3-pointers.
After trailing by 17, the Sparks pulled within six points several times in the second quarter.
Parker scored eight of the team's 19 points in the period and had three assists to help cut the Storm's lead to 39-31 at halftime.
The Sparks held an early 6-5 lead when Kristi Tolliver made a jumper to put them ahead. The Storm then answered with a 20-2 run by outrebounding the Sparks and forcing them to commit four turnovers during the stretch.
"It's huge to get off to good starts, especially when you're on another team's court because opposing teams can really feed off of their crowd and use that energy," Bird said. "Thank God we got that lead."