Sun 76

(11-11, 5-7 away)

Sparks 73

(16-5, 6-4 home)

    9:30 PM ET, July 20, 2003

    1 2 3 4 T
    CONN 39 37 76
    LA 36 37 73

    Top Performers

    Connecticut: T. McWilliams-Franklin 10 Pts, 8 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl, 2 Blk

    Los Angeles: M. Mabika 23 Pts, 4 Reb, 4 Ast

    Johnson, Sun edge short-handed Sparks

    LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The Los Angeles Sparks made no excuses for a surprising loss at the hands of the Connecticut Sun.

    Shannon Johnson's go-ahead driving layup with 18.9 seconds left helped the Sun win 76-73 Sunday night.

    Los Angeles, which leads the WNBA with a 16-5 record, played without its top two scorers: Lisa Leslie and Tamecka Dixon.

    "Everyone needs to come together and pick up the pieces of the game when they are not here," said Sparks rookie Shaquala Williams, who scored a season-high 10 points -- all in the first half. "We were in a position to win, but we could not finish it."

    After Johnson's basket, Sparks forward Mwadi Mabika shot an airball, which teammate Rhonda Mapp grabbed. But Mapp threw the ball into the backcourt for a turnover with 2.6 seconds left.

    Taj McWilliams-Franklin made two free throws for the Sun with 0.6 seconds to play for the final points. Mabika threw up a 75-foot shot as time expired.

    Nykesha Sales led Connecticut (11-11) with 17 points, Katie Douglas scored 12, and Johnson, McWilliams-Franklin and Wendy Palmer added 10 apiece.

    Mabika scored a game-high 23 for Los Angeles, while DeLish Milton had 19. Nikki Teasley scored all of her 18 points in the second half.

    "We were up five points but our killer instinct was not there," Milton said. "I don't think it was there the entire game. The little things that broke us down were missing the shots and missing defensive rebounds. We let them get wide-open jumpers and take the game."

    Leslie, the reigning league MVP, missed her third consecutive game after hurting her right knee in the All-Star game last weekend. Dixon was sidelined after straining her left knee in Friday's 79-74 loss to Houston.

    Teasley's 3-pointer with 1:08 left gave the Sparks a 73-70 lead, but Williams-Franklin's 5-foot jumper with 43.4 seconds remaining cut the deficit to 73-72.

    "I thought they had tired legs a little bit," Connecticut coach Mike Thibault said. "They thought we were coming down to set up, but we went right to the basket."

    The Sun led 39-36 at halftime. Los Angeles took its first lead at 57-54 with 10:23 to play on Teasley's 3-pointer.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

      Connecticut Los Angeles
    Points 76 73
    FG Made-Attempted 29-60 (.000) 25-58 (.000)
    3P Made-Attempted 6-22 (.273) 7-19 (.368)
    FT Made-Attempted 12-16 (.000) 16-23 (.000)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 7-28 6-29
    Assists 19 17
    Turnovers 10 12
    Steals 7 5
    Blocks 2 2
    Fast Break Points 1 3
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 22 (0/0) 15 (0/0)