10:30 PM ET, May 22, 2012
Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
The Seattle Storm were well on their way to a season-opening victory before Kristi Toliver and the Los Angeles Sparks took over in the fourth quarter.Los Angeles will look to carry over the momentum from Friday's stunning comeback victory into the rematch Tuesday night, while visiting Seattle will be seeking a much better result.The Sparks (1-0) trailed by 21 with 2:48 remaining in the third quarter but Toliver led the charge in the fourth, scoring 10 of her game-high 25 points as Los Angeles outscored Seattle 30-10 in the final period of a 72-66 victory -- the Storm's first season-opening loss since 2005."It's something that we haven't shown in the past. It's good to see this team show it from Game One," Toliver said. "We started off slow and were able to fight back. It's something that doesn't come easy, so we're very proud of it."Candace Parker had 11 points for the Sparks, but shot 5 of 12 and was on the bench for the majority her club's comeback."We're a team and we play whoever is playing well at that moment," said Carol Ross, who won her WNBA head coaching debut after Los Angeles trailed 24-10 after the first quarter.Toliver didn't start Friday and Ross wouldn't commit to starting her Tuesday despite the breakout performance."We're going to play a lot of people. That's just the way it goes," Ross said. "Toliver is always going to play a lot, whether she comes off the bench or whether she starts."Toliver, who averaged a career-best 11.2 points in 2011, expects a drastic improvement from a 15-19 season that ended with Los Angeles missing the playoffs for the first time in four seasons."We want to be the No. 1 team in the (Western Conference), and in order to do that, we're going to have to win a lot of games on the West Coast," she said. "Of course, it's our first game so we're going to stay excited, we're going to be enthused."We've been waiting all year for the season to start. All we had was fight and we're going to have that same fight all season."Seattle (0-1), playing without three-time league MVP Lauren Jackson as she prepares in Australia for the Olympics, committed 27 turnovers -- fourth most in team history."I'm hoping that's as bad as we'll be in the fourth quarter," coach Brian Agler said. "We don't want to see that again."Ann Wauters scored 17 points in her Storm debut and Sue Bird added 15."Sometimes losses have a way of pointing things out, where you need to work on things, but this one I would have rather learned with a win," Bird said. "It's very disappointing. It was a terrible game for us."Bird scored 15 points in each meeting in Los Angeles last season, but the Sparks won both. Toliver had 11 points in a 74-50 victory June 19 and Parker netted a game-high 27 in a 68-62 win Aug. 30.The teams split their four-game season series.This matchup originally was scheduled for Saturday, but the date was changed because Staples Center was booked with multiple NBA and NHL playoff games through the weekend.