Leslie Helps Sparks Power Past Silver Stars

Los Angeles 58, San Antonio 53

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 30, 2008 (AP) -- Lisa Leslie scored four of her 18 points and had a blocked shot in the final 1:39, and the Los Angeles Sparks rallied for a 58-53 victory over the San Antonio Silver Stars on Saturday night.

Candace Parker added 17 points and 15 rebounds for the Sparks (17-12), who have won three consecutive games after losing six of eight. Shannon Bobbitt contributed 10 points.

"I think it's a huge victory for us,'' Parker said. "The players who were here worked hard over the (Olympic) break. Coop (Sparks head coach Michael Cooper) put them through really tough practices and they got a lot better.''

Becky Hammon had 17 points and seven assists for the Silver Stars (19-10), who fell into a first-place tie with Seattle in the Western Conference. Ann Wauters added 13 points.

"It felt like a playoff game,'' Wauters said. "L.A. is a really physical team and I think we need to respond to that.''

San Antonio led 53-49 with 2:39 to play but failed to score the rest of the game.

"They believe in our defense and that's half the battle,'' Cooper said of his players. "If they believe in it, they'll go out there and commit to it.''

Bobbitt made a 3-pointer to narrow the deficit to 53-52 with 2:17 left. Leslie followed with two free throws with 1:39 left to put the Sparks ahead 54-53, and her 5-foot jumper extended the lead to 56-53 with 40.5 seconds remaining.

Leslie then blocked Sophia Young's jumper with 19.2 seconds to play. After the Sparks received the ball on a turnover, Bobbitt made a free throw with 15.8 seconds left.

Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt attended the game with Sparks co-owners Carla Christofferson and Katherine Goodman.

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