Candace Parker turned in the highest-scoring effort of her young career against the Houston Comets earlier this month, and now the Los Angeles Sparks are hoping she can repeat that performance.
Parker will be trying to help the Sparks end a four-game road losing streak on Saturday when they square off against the Comets.
Parker scored 40 points in the first meeting between these teams this season, an 82-74 overtime victory for Los Angeles (13-9) on July 9. The former University of Tennessee standout, who leads all WNBA rookies with 18.9 points per game, also had 16 rebounds, six assists and five blocks.
"She's only getting better," coach Michael Cooper said of the No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft after that game. "I think she's starting to figure this league out, and she's starting to figure out how our team can function and evolve with her - not around her, but with her."
Los Angeles has dropped three of four since then, with each of the losses coming on the road. The Sparks, who went 4-1 while opening the season with five straight road games, have lost four straight away from home.
Parker had 23 points and 13 rebounds for her 12th double-double of the season in Thursday's 99-92 loss in Phoenix. It was her second straight 20-point effort - she had 24 points and 10 rebounds in Monday's 75-62 win over San Antonio.
Los Angeles has dropped six of nine overall.
DeLisha Milton-Jones chipped in 38 points Thursday, topping her previous career high of 26 points before halftime. Milton-Jones, who boosted her season average to 14.4 points, was coming off a 15-point performance against the Silver Stars.
Milton-Jones went 13-of-20 from the field, including 5-of-8 from beyond the arc, and had six rebounds and four assists against the Mercury. She did not play in the first matchup this season against the Comets (10-12).
Tina Thompson scored 21 points for Houston in that game. Thompson, who leads the team with 18.0 points per contest, has averaged 20.1 in her last four games and scored 25 off the bench in Thursday's 96-88 win over Minnesota.
Tamecka Dixon added 22 points, five rebounds and five assists for the Comets, who ended a three-game losing streak and split a home-and-home series with the Lynx. Houston has won four straight at home.
Sancho Lyttle scored 16 points and tied a career high with 18 rebounds Thursday. The double-double was her fourth of the season and third this month.