|Seattle Storm's Sue Bird (10) passes around Los Angeles Sparks' Kristi Toliver, left, in the first half of a WNBA basketball game, Saturday, July 9, 2011, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)|
Cash leads Storm past Sparks 99-80
SEATTLE—Swin Cash had 16 of her 26 points in the third quarter to help the Seattle Storm beat the Los Angeles Sparks 99-80 on Saturday night.
Tanisha Wright added 21 points, Sue Bird had 17 and Katie Smith 13 for Seattle (6-4), which remained in fourth place in the Western Conference.
Rookie Jantel Lavender had career highs of 21 points and nine rebounds in her first start for Los Angeles (4-6), which lost its fifth straight overall and dropped to 0-6 on the road.
DeLisha Milton-Jones scored 19 points and Kristi Toliver had 17 points for the Sparks in her first start of the season.
The Storm beat the Sparks for the eighth consecutive game in Seattle since a loss in 2006.
Seattle scored a season high after entering the game averaging a league-low 69 points per game.
Cash had 10 points during a 14-3 run midway through the third quarter to help give the Storm an eight-point lead. Bird, who had nine points in the quarter, hit a 3-pointer with 3 seconds left to make it 70-60 Seattle.
The Storm broke the game wide open with a 9-0 run early in the fourth to stretch their advantage to 79-62 with 7:41 left. Smith hit three 3s in the fourth quarter en route to her season high in points.
Wright and Le'coe Willingham (12) also scored season highs.
Milton-Jones scored nine and Lavender eight to help the Sparks to a 39-38 halftime lead.
Wright had eight of her 12 first-half points in the second quarter to keep the Storm close.
Los Angeles has lost five straight for the first time since 2007.
Seattle shot 35 of 64 (55 percent) from the field, including 9 for 17 on 3s.