Thompson, Sparks End Season on High Note

Houston 82, Los Angeles 72

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 19 (AP) -- Tina Thompson had 22 points and seven rebounds to lead the Houston Comets to an 82-72 victory over the Los Angeles Sparks on Sunday night.

Thompson became the fourth WNBA player to reach 2,000 career rebounds. She joined Margo Dydek, Yolanda Griffith and Lisa Leslie.

Hamchetou Maiga-Ba added 15 points for the Comets (13-21), who matched their franchise-worst record and missed the postseason for just the second time.

"I'm extremely proud of this team,'' Houston coach Karleen Thompson said. "To start off 0-10 and finish strong like we did, I couldn't ask for anything else.''

Sherill Baker had a season-high 16 points and seven assists for the Sparks (10-24), who lost 22 of their final 27 games. Jessica Moore added career bests of 13 points and eight rebounds.

"The fun part about this game is that there's always next year,'' Sparks coach Michael Cooper said. "Not making the playoffs puts us in the lottery, and there's a good chance we could end up with the No. 1, 2 or 3 pick.''

Los Angeles, which trailed by as many as 10 points, held a 59-58 lead when Tina Thompson scored four points during a 9-0 spurt that put the Comets ahead 67-59 with 9:40 to play.

The Sparks narrowed their deficit to 74-72 with 4:55 left but Houston finished the game with an 8-0 run. Six of the points came off turnovers.

"We turned our defense up,'' Karleen Thompson said. "That was something that we had in capital letters on the board: pressure defense for 40 minutes.''

The Comets scored 25 points off 20 turnovers.

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