Mercury Fall Short in LA, Lose to Sparks
Mercury 74, Shock 90Posted June 8, 2012
LOS ANGELES - Nneka Ogwumike had season highs of 25 points and 12 rebounds and Candace Parker added 23 points and 10 rebounds to help the Los Angeles Sparks defeat the Phoenix Mercury 90-74 on Friday night.
The Sparks (5-1) have won four straight and are off to their best start since 2003. The 16-point victory was their largest of the season.
Parker recorded her fourth straight double-double and matched a season-high with four assists.
DeLisha Milton-Jones scored 12 of her 21 points in the second half and hit a 3-pointer after Phoenix climbed back to seven points down with 6:30 remaining.
The Mercury (2-5) have only beaten Tulsa twice this season while all five losses are by double digits. Phoenix is 1-4 without Diana Taurasi, the former MVP who is out indefinitely with a left hip flexor strain.
Charde Houston led Phoenix with 22 points and made four of five 3-point attempts. DeWanna Bonner added 18 points and Candice Dupree had 13.
Bonner made consecutive 3-point baskets to pull Phoenix to 73-66 but the Mercury got no closer. Milton-Jones sank a baseline 3-pointer for an 81-68 lead. Parker took a no-look pass from Kristi Toliver for the last of her points for an 88-71 lead.
Phoenix trimmed a 22-point deficit to nine after three quarters. Houston made a pair of 3-pointers and Dupree completed a three-point play and made a jumper in the final four minutes of the third.
Parker finished a 13-0 run with a pair of free throws and a layup late in the first half as the Sparks took a 43-28 lead into halftime. Phoenix was held to no field goals in the final 4:52 of the opening half. Bonner was 0 for 5 and Dupree was 2 for 11 as the Mercury shot 28.1 percent from the field.
Sparks coach Carol Ross sat forward Alana Beard for the first time this season. Beard started all previous six games.
Coco Miller made her Sparks debut. Los Angeles on Friday signed Miller for backcourt help. Sharnee Zoll was expected to contribute at point guard but Zoll tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee before the season and the Sparks waived her
Miller played for Ross the past three seasons in Atlanta when Ross was an assistant coach for the Dream.
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