ROSEMONT, Ill. — Courtney Vandersloot scored 17 points and the Chicago Sky held off the Los Angeles Sparks 70-66 on Sunday to force a Game 4 in the WNBA semifinals.
Imani Boyette added 13 points and Clarissa Dos Santos had 10 for the fourth-seeded Sky, who have been playing without leading scorer and rebounder Elena Delle Donne. The 2015 league MVP underwent right thumb surgery on Sept. 13.
League MVP Nneka Ogwumike had 16 of her 22 points in the first half and Kristi Toliver added 13 for the second-seeded Sparks, who won the first two games of the series at home by double digits.
The Sky shot 41.7 percent from the field to Los Angeles’ 36.6 percent.
Two-time MVP Candace Parker shot 3 for 14 from the field for nine points and league sixth woman of the year Jantel Lavender finished with six points for the Sparks.
Defending champion and top-seeded Minnesota has a 2-0 lead over Phoenix over in the other semifinal series, with Game 3 later Sunday. The Lynx are aiming for their fourth title in six years.
Ogwumike hit a layup for a 57-56 Sparks lead with 5:11 left for her first points since the second quarter. Kristi Toliver came up with the steal and hit both free throws to give the Sparks a one-point lead with 2:00 left before Boyette answered with a layup. Toliver hit a 3, but Boyette’s layup tied it with 1:14 left. Boyette made another layup and Vandersloot hit a jumper for a four-point lead. Ogwumike missed a 3 with 8 seconds left, and Vandersloot made two free throws to seal the victory.
The Sky opened the third quarter with a 17-6 run to take the lead. Boyette scored seven points and Jessica Breland added six in the period for a 49-47 Sky lead going into the final quarter. Ogwumike and Parker were scoreless in the third.
The Sparks led by 15 in the first half, but the Sky scored the final six points of the second quarter to pull within nine at halftime.
Ogwumike scored 12 points and the Sparks shot 60 percent from the field to take a 23-14 lead after the first quarter. After the Sky scored the game’s first two points, the Sparks went on a 9-0 run and didn’t trail again.
Los Angeles routed the Sky 95-75 and 99-84 in the other games in the series. The Sparks have won five of their six meetings this season.
Sparks co-owner Magic Johnson was in attendance. … The Sparks scored at least 93 points in four of their previous five meetings with Chicago this season. … During the regular season, Los Angeles led the WNBA with a 48.7 percent field goal percentage, while the Sky topped the league in scoring at 86.2 points per game.
Delle Donne was in street clothes during the game and has missed nine straight games. She averaged 21.5 points to share the league scoring title with New York’s Tina Charles.
Game 4 is back here Tuesday night.