Kristi Toliver tied her career high with 29 points, including the go-ahead free throws with 45 seconds remaining, and the Los Angeles Sparks beat the San Antonio Silver Stars 93-86 in the opening game of the WNBA Western Conference semifinals on Thursday night.
Toliver was presented with the league's Most Improved Player award before the game.
Candace Parker, runner-up for the league's MVP award, added 23 points and Alana Beard had 20 for the second-seeded Sparks, who improved to 17-1 at home this season with their 11th consecutive victory. The game was played at Galen Center, Southern California's home arena, because of a scheduling conflict at Staples Center.
Becky Hammons led the third-seeded Silver Stars with 19 points, Danielle Adams had 17 and Danielle Robinson 16.
Game 2 is Saturday in San Antonio.