Sparks-Dream Preview

Candace Parker's WNBA debut was the best by any player in league history.

She's had to wait more than a week for an encore.

Parker and the Los Angeles Sparks look to build off their first victory of the season Sunday when they visit the expansion Atlanta Dream, who are still seeking the franchise's first win.

The Sparks made Parker the No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft, and she made an immediate impact in their season-opening 99-94 win over defending champion Phoenix on May 17.

Parker scored 34 points, the most in a WNBA debut, grabbed 12 rebounds and came within two assists of becoming the first rookie to record a triple-double.

The previous high in a WNBA debut was 25 points by Cynthia Cooper in 1997.

"It obviously was better than I expected," said the 6-foot-4 Parker, who led Tennessee to back-to-back national titles. "Coming out, I just wanted to play hard. I was a little nervous, and I think my teammates did a good job of just keeping me in it mentally and just not allowing me to get frustrated."

The game was tied at 79 three minutes into the fourth quarter, but Parker took over, scoring 10 straight points to give the Sparks an 89-86 lead with 3:15 to play. The 2008 AP women's college basketball player of the year made 6-of-7 shots in the final quarter, and put the Sparks up by three points with a short hook shot with 12 seconds to go.

"She's the money player," Los Angeles coach Michael Cooper said. "Put the ball in her hands and she did what she's supposed to do."

While Parker played in her first WNBA game, three-time league MVP Lisa Leslie played for the first time since 2006.

Leslie, who missed last season while on maternity leave, finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds against the Mercury.

Two-time All-Star DeLisha Milton-Jones had 10 points and nine boards in her first game back with Los Angeles after being reacquired from Washington last month. She was on the Sparks' championship teams in 2001 and '02.

Los Angeles is in the midst of playing five straight on the road before meeting Phoenix in its home opener on June 6.

The Dream (0-2) lost to Detroit 88-76 in their home opener on Friday after falling to Connecticut 100-67 in the franchise's first game on May 17.

Atlanta had a pair of 18-point leads in the second quarter against the Shock, but was outscored 56-31 after halftime.

Betty Lennox led the Dream with 21 points on Friday, but the rest of the starters combined to score only 12 on 5-for-14 shooting.

The Dream outrebounded Detroit 42-37 after being outrebounded 53-29 by the Sun, but their shooting has been awful.

Atlanta made just 2-of-16 shots from 3-point range Friday, and is shooting 37.6 percent (53-of-141) from the field and 17.2 percent (5-of-29) from beyond the arc.

"We are making progress as a team," Dream coach Marynell Meadors said. "We were aggressive on defensive. On offense, we just didn't hit some shots we should make. We will get better."

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