LOS ANGELES - The Lynx could have turned to the sure-shooting Seimone Augustus or gone down low to Sylvia Fowles. There was also Lindsay Whalen, with her ability to get to the basket.
That’s why Renee Montgomery was surprised to hear her name called in the biggest moment of perhaps the biggest regular-season game in WNBA history.
Montgomery made a three-pointer with 2.9 seconds left to give the Lynx a 72-69 win against the Los Angeles Sparks in a historic matchup of undefeated teams Tuesday at Staples Center.
Montgomery was wide open in the left corner to take Whalen’s pass and sink the winning shot as the Lynx overcame the loss of injured leading scorer Maya Moore late to stay unbeaten at 13-0. Montgomery had gone 1-for-7 before her winning shot.
“It’s crazy that coach even called my number after that shooting performance,” Montgomery said. “I literally had just missed three shots — wide open. [Whalen] came around. I floated down to the baseline, got a great screen from Sylvia, and look[ed] at God.”
A relieved Montgomery described a finish that veered from the script. Moore sustained a left-thigh injury, according to the team, and did not play in the final seven minutes. Her eight points were a season low; she was also limited by foul trouble.
Moore and Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve did not immediately know the severity of the injury. Moore had a good view of Montgomery’s game-winner.
“I was so nervous not being able to be in the game and have an appreciation for our bench even more now,” Moore said. “I have so much confidence in our team. We have a high belief in the person next to us.”
That belief was interrupted briefly in the final seconds. The Sparks (11-1) had a chance to force overtime when Kristi Toliver made a long jumper. But her foot was on the three-point line and the shot came after time expired to end the first matchup in WNBA history — or in the NBA, NFL, MLB or NHL — between teams with 10 or more wins and zero losses, according to the WNBA.
“It was the game that everybody was hoping that it would be,” Reeve said. “We just couldn’t get separation, and that’s what you expect when both teams are [ranked] one and two in nearly every category on offense and defense.”
Augustus led the Lynx with 13 points and Natasha Howard and Rebekkah Brunson each scored 12 points. Fowles had seven points and 11 rebounds.
The Lynx dominated inside with a 42-29 rebounding edge, including 12-5 in offensive rebounds. Toliver scored 20 points to pace the Sparks, but leading scorer Nneka Ogwumike scored only nine points — she took just three shots — and second-leading scorer Candace Parker was 3-for-13 from the field and also had nine.
It was the Sparks’ first loss since deciding Game 3 of the last year’s conference semifinals, to the Lynx.
“We certainly did not play a very complete game,” Toliver said. “I think that’s the good thing. I look forward to playing them at their place [on Friday]. We can play so much better.”
The Lynx finished the third quarter on a 9-2 run capped by Howard’s layup to tie it, 56-56. The Sparks had taken a 54-47 lead when Moore sat with her fourth foul with 6:24 left in the third quarter.
The 13 wins in a row for the Lynx ties a franchise regular-season record, set over two seasons. They won the last three games in 2011 and the first 10 in 2012.
Los Angeles holds the league record for most consecutive games won, 18 in 2001.