LOS ANGELES, Sept. 12 (Ticker) -- Lisa Leslie scored 23 points and backstopped a strong defensive effort as the Los Angeles Sparks shut down the Sacramento Monarchs, 65-52, for their seventh straight home win.

The Sparks never trailed and led by as many as 20 points as they improved to 14-1 at home and 23-8 overall, clinching first place in the Western Conference. Los Angeles won two straight WNBA titles before losing to Detroit last year.

Leslie had two blocked shots as part of a defense that limited the Monarchs to 36 percent (20-of-56) shooting and forced 22 turnovers. Sacramento was held to its second-lowest total of the season, surpassed only by a 63-50 loss at Indiana on July 16.

The Sparks scored the first six points and opened a 19-9 lead on a basket by Leslie with 9:53 left in the first half. They led, 32-22, at halftime.

A jumper by Mwadi Mabika capped a 13-4 surge and gave LA its largest lead at 49-29 with 11:47 remaining.

Mabika scored 14 points and Tamecka Dixon added 10 and seven assists for the Sparks, who shot 43 percent (23-of-53).

Yolanda Griffith scored 17 points but was the only player in double figures for the Monarchs (15-16), who have lost three in a row and fell 1 1/2 games behind Phoenix for the final playoff spot in the West.