Thomas Leads Sparks Over Lynx

Los Angeles 89, Minnesota 80

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 12 (AP) -- LaToya Thomas scored a season-high 23 points as the Los Angeles Sparks held off the Minnesota Lynx 89-80 Sunday night.

Sidney Spencer had 15 points and Christi Thomas added 12 for the Sparks (10-21), who broke a five-game losing streak and won at home for the first time since June 27.

"We played two halves, finally,'' Sparks coach Michael Cooper said. "I'm just glad that out team is still fighting, even though there's nothing on the line.''

Los Angeles will miss the WNBA playoffs for the first time since 1998.

Thomas, who went 8-for-11 from the field, was playing in her ninth game since missing seven straight because of a strained right calf.

"It took a toll on me when I first came back,'' Thomas said. "I had to get my rhythm back and get used to playing again. But it's hard for teams to stop me on the post becaue I'm a big guard.''

Seimone Augustus scored 28 points on 12-for-19 shooting from the field to lead the Lynx (8-23), who have lost three of four. Nicole Ohlde added 14 points.

"We needed to have a bit more intensity from the beginning,'' Lynx guard Noelle Quinn said. "The biggest thing today was our defense. We just didn't have that.''

The Sparks led by 15 points in the third quarter before Minnesota pulled to 58-56 with 16.7 seconds left in the period. The Lynx, who shot 29.4 percent in the first half, made 11 of 20 shots in the third quarter.

But three consecutive three-point plays by Murriel Page, Marta Fernandez and Thomas during a 9-2 spurt extended Los Angeles' lead to 67-58 with 8:45 to play.

Minnesota's Shay Murphy scored five points in 38 seconds to bring the Lynx within 71-67. But Fernandez made a fadeaway jumper while being fouled and converted the free throw to give the Sparks a 74-67 lead with 6:13 left.

The Sparks' Taj McWilliams-Franklin missed the game because of a family emergency.

Calendar Strip here