LOS ANGELES, Sept. 17 (Ticker) -- The Minnesota Lynx looked like a team that needed to win, while the Los Angeles Sparks resembled one with nothing to play for.

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Lynx rookie Nicole Ohlde was just as good without the ball Friday.
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Nicole Ohlde scored 19 points as the Lynx locked up a playoff berth with a 78-66 win over the Sparks, who already had clinched first place in the Western Division.

The 6-foot-5 Ohlde did her part on the defensive end as well, holding Lisa Leslie to nine points before the Olympian fouled out with 8:26 left in the game.

Minnesota led 37-32 at halftime, but Mwadi Mabika hit a layup with 13:50 remaining to cap an 8-2 run by Los Angeles that tied the score, 46-46.

After the teams traded baskets, Ohlde hit a pair of free throws to start a 16-5 run that gave the Lynx a comfortable 64-53 advantage with 9:33 left.

Vanessa Hayden added 16 points and nine rebounds for Minnesota, which won for the third time in seven contests since losing leading scorer Katie Smith over the Olympic break.

Tamika Whitmore scored a team-leading 18 points off the bench for Los Angeles, which lost at home for just the second time this season.