LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Mwadi Mabika's best game of the season came
at a perfect time for the Los Angeles Sparks.
Mabika tied a WNBA record with seven 3-pointers and finished
with a season-high 27 points to lead the Los Angeles Sparks to an
80-69 victory over the Sacramento Monarchs on Sunday night.
"I knew that after playing last night some of our players were
going to be tired and I needed to step up my game," Mabika said.
"When I make my first two shots I get in rhythm and I'm good the
rest of the night and tonight I was able to do that."
Lisa Leslie had 16 points and seven rebounds and Chamique
Holdsclaw added 12 points and seven rebounds for Los Angeles (8-3),
which won its fifth straight -- all at home -- and moved a half-game
ahead of Houston for first place in the Western Conference.
Mabika shot 9-for-15 from the field, including 7-for-8 on 3s to
help the Sparks snap a four-game losing streak against defending
champion Sacramento -- including last season's playoffs.
"Every time she was on the court [tonight] I told her if you
don't shoot it I'm going to take you out," Los Angeles coach Joe
Bryant said. "She started letting it go and she was special. Every
game certain players fit the puzzle different ways and this game
Mwadi had a bigger chunk of the puzzle."
Nicole Powell had 15 points and six assists, and Kara Lawson
scored 14 points for Sacramento (5-5), which outrebounded the
Sparks 22-17 but had 14 turnovers.
"We played a talented team tonight and we made too many
mistakes to beat them at their home court," Monarchs coach John
Whisenant said. "Mwadi and Leslie got away from us. We can't allow
that to happen and expect to beat a team like the Sparks."
Murriel Page's jumper with 3:37 gave Los Angeles a 68-66 lead
and the Sparks then went on a 10-1 run.
After being limited to 10 points in the second quarter on
4-for-16 shooting from the field, the Sparks opened the third
quarter with a 12-4 run behind a pair of 3s from Mabika to take a
47-42 lead with 6:16 left.
However, the Monarchs fought back to take a 53-51 lead into the
final quarter on Kara Lawson's 3 with 1 minute left in the third.
Powell scored 10 points and the Monarchs used an 8-0 run
spanning the first two quarters to take a 38-33 lead at halftime.
Sparks starting point guard Temeka Johnson suffered a concussion
following a collision under the basket and did not return for the