Mercury 83

(6-8, 1-5 away)

Sparks 85

(12-4, 8-1 home)

    10:30 PM ET, June 30, 2006

    Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA

    1 2 3 4 T
    PHX 17 17 22 2783
    LA 13 26 22 2485

    Top Performers

    Phoenix: K. Miller 13 Pts, 12 Reb, 4 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

    Los Angeles: C. Holdsclaw 18 Pts, 3 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Stl

    Last-minute Mercury rally falls short in loss to Sparks

    LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Chamique Holdsclaw scored 18 points and Lisa Leslie added 16 with eight rebounds Friday night as the Los Angeles Sparks beat the Phoenix Mercury 85-83.

    Cappie Pondexter had 21 points to lead the Mercury, while Diana Taurasi contributed 19 and Kelly Miller 13 with a career-high 12 rebounds.

    Mwadi Mabika scored 13 points and Lisa Willis 10 for the Sparks (12-4), who forced the Mercury into a season-high 21 turnovers.

    Kamila Vodichkova and Penny Taylor each scored 10 points for Phoenix (6-8), which had its two-game winning streak snapped. Phoenix is 0-2 against Los Angeles this season.

    Pondexter scored the Mercury's final six points on a pair of jump shots and two free throws. The Sparks had opened a double-digit lead several times before Phoenix rallied in the final minutes.

    "Yeah we got a win, but there are situations that we can learn from and we need to get better on defense," Sparks center Temeka Johnson said.

    Holdsclaw's three-point play midway through the third quarter triggered a 9-2 run that helped the Sparks take their biggest lead of the night at 52-41. Mabika scored 10 points in the third quarter for the Sparks.

    Sparks star Lisa Leslie finished with 16 points but shot just 6-of-14 from the field.

    "We tried to change defenses to keep Lisa Leslie from getting easy inside baskets but that opened things up for their other players," Mercury coach Paul Westhead said.

    Taurasi's 3-pointer with 7:43 left in the second quarter gave Phoenix its biggest lead of the first half, 24-17. But Los Angeles answered with a 10-2 run and went ahead 29-26 on a jump shot by Holdsclaw with 4:45 remaining in the opening half.

    The Mercury led 17-13 after the first quarter behind 11 points and five rebounds by Miller. Phoenix held the Sparks to 5-of-21 shooting in the quarter and forced five turnovers.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

      Phoenix Los Angeles
    Points 83 85
    FG Made-Attempted 23-59 (.000) 25-67 (.000)
    3P Made-Attempted 5-19 (.263) 4-14 (.286)
    FT Made-Attempted 22-28 (.000) 31-40 (.000)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 10-36 13-35
    Assists 15 17
    Turnovers 20 13
    Steals 6 12
    Blocks 1 2
    Fast Break Points 12 5
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 26 (0/0) 25 (0/0)