Sparks

78
Team1234OTOT2T
Sparks 13924194978
Fever 2512161241382
Final   

Fever

82
Fever Fight Off Parker, Sparks in 2 OT
By CLIFF BRUNT, AP Sports Writer

Indiana 82, Los Angeles 78

INDIANAPOLIS, May 29 (AP) - Indiana Fever fans got exactly what they wanted to see - a strong performance by Candace Parker, and a win for the home team.

Parker scored six points in the final minute of the second overtime for the Los Angeles Sparks, but the Fever hung on for an 82-78 win Thursday night to hand the rookie from Tennessee her first loss as a pro.

Parker had 16 points, 16 rebounds, six blocks, five assists and five steals. The Elias Sports Bureau said she's the first player in WNBA history to register at least five in each of those categories in a game.

"She's a great talent,'' Indiana's Katie Douglas, who guarded her for most of the game, said. "She's obviously going to be a star, if not already a star, in this league. She does so many different things - I've never seen a player like her. She doesn't have to score to play a key role on her team.''

Parker also had seven turnovers and shot just 7-for-18 from the field. She went scoreless in the first half.

"I think overall, though, we did a good job,'' Douglas said. "We got into her and frustrated her. It wasn't just me, it was everybody helping, collapsing and trying to make things uncomfortable for her all night.''

Parker was strong in the second overtime, but Indiana's Tan White was even better. She scored 11 of her 20 points in the final period.

"I came to life in the end and I knew I had to make some shots,'' White said.

For the Sparks, it was a disappointing loss they need to forget quickly.

"We have to regroup and come back strong,'' she said. "We're not going to dwell on this. We don't have a lot of time between games, so we're just going to have to regroup and be ready for Washington (on Saturday).

It was a wild game that featured failed dunk attempts by both Parker and Lisa Leslie. Leslie, the only WNBA player to dunk in a regular-season game, finished with 19 points and nine rebounds.

The teams also combined for a league-record 27 blocked shots.

Perhaps the strangest moment came during pregame introductions, when Parker got louder cheers than any of the Fever players. Many of those fans wore orange Tennessee shirts.

Douglas led the Fever with 25 points and tied a team record with her fourth-straight 20-point game. Ebony Hoffman had 10 points and 11 rebounds and Bernadette Ngoyisa added 14 points and nine rebounds for Indiana (3-1).

The second overtime belonged to White. She scored the Fever's first basket of the period, then scored again on a baseline leaner that gave Indiana a 74-69 lead with 2:13 to play.

A midrange jumper by White made it 78-74 with 39 seconds left, but Parker scored 7 seconds later to make it 78-76.

White scored on driving layup over Leslie with 10 seconds left to make it 80-76, Indiana. Parker scored again with 6 seconds left, but White made two free throws to finish the game. White also had 10 rebounds and five assists.

The Fever planned to use Douglas as a decoy and feature White in the second overtime.

"Give coach (Lin) Dunn and Tan all the credit for that scheme,'' Douglas said. "Tan got off to a good start, then she tried to search out where she found her openings. In different moments, everybody stepped up, but Tan was extremely huge for us.''

Sparks coach Michael Cooper was pleased with their performance after halftime, but thought his team waited too long to get started.

"We need to come to play,'' he said. "Our comeback was good, but it was hard on us.''

The Fever led throughout the first quarter, but Parker provided the most spectacular moment. She blocked a shot, leading to a fast break. She got into the open court and appeared to be going up for a dunk when she lost control of the ball and the crowd moaned a collective "ohhhh.''

Leslie missed a dunk attempt with 8:43 left in the third quarter, then Parker finally scored with 8:18 remaining in the period.

Douglas was glad to see the Fever keep their composure after Los Angeles erased a 19-point deficit.

"It's young into the season, but you can see the character and the type of veterans and experience we have,'' she said. "It's not pretty at all times, but everybody who knows basketball knows it's a game of runs. We definitely coughed up a big lead. We knew they were going to come out in the second half with intensity, and we stood our ground.''

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