Sparks 56

(21-6, 8-4 away)

Comets 52


    8:30 PM ET, July 25, 2006

    1 2 3 4 T
    LA 10 11 16 1956
    HOU 14 13 14 1152

    Top Performers

    Los Angeles: L. Leslie 16 Pts, 13 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Houston: S. Swoopes 15 Pts, 7 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 Blk

    Leslie leads L.A. past Houston, West lead at 4 1/2 games

    HOUSTON (AP) -- Lisa Leslie scored 16 points and led the Los Angeles Sparks to their first regular-season sweep over the Houston Comets with a 56-52 win on Tuesday.

    Leslie scored 13 points in the second half and added 13 rebounds for her league-leading 14th double-double of the season.

    Chamique Holdsclaw came off the bench and added 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Sparks, who are 3-0 against Houston this season and lead the Comets by 6½ games in the Western Conference.

    The Sparks trailed by as many as nine points before rallying late for their league-leading 21st win of the season.

    "Hustle plays really got us back in the game tonight," Leslie said. "I just wasn't in a good rhythm early in the game and I don't think anyone on either team was. It certainly wasn't pretty, but there have been times when we've had to rely on our defense to win games."

    Sheryl Swoopes scored 15 points for the Comets, who lost at home for just the third time this season. Playing without injured starters Dominique Canty and Tina Thompson, the Comets fell to 1-6 in their last seven games overall.

    The Comets were held to a season-low 29.2 field-goal percentage.

    "I told the team tonight that the rest of the games would have a playoff atmosphere," Sparks coach Joe Bryant said. "We have to be ready for everyone and sometimes you have to play like we did tonight.

    "We had to stop them by not allowing them to find their shot."

    Los Angeles took the lead for good with 3:53 left in the game when Holdsclaw made a layup to make it 48-46.

    Houston had two chances to tie the game with a 3-pointer with less than 15 seconds left in the game, but Dawn Staley and Swoopes missed badly in the Comets' final possession.

    "At times in this game we had mental lapses, both offensive and defensive," Swoopes said. "We didn't shoot the ball well, and we couldn't get shots to fall. At the same time, our offense wasn't allowing them to get the shots they wanted. We gave up rebounds at crucial points of the game."

    The Comets raced out to a 12-3 lead in the first five minutes of the game led by Swoopes' four points. Swoopes hit a 16-foot jump shot and started a 6-0 run that was capped by a driving layup by Staley.

    Houston had a 27-21 lead at halftime despite being outrebounded 23-15 by the Sparks.

    "We did a really good job of hanging in and trying to win a game shooting 29 percent," Comets coach Van Chancellor said. "I thought we didn't rebound the ball, and when the game was on the line in the last five minutes, LA was a lot more physical than us. Until we get more physical, we aren't going to beat a team like that."

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

      Los Angeles Houston
    Points 56 52
    FG Made-Attempted 21-60 (.000) 19-65 (.000)
    3P Made-Attempted 2-5 (.400) 4-16 (.250)
    FT Made-Attempted 12-21 (.000) 10-13 (.000)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 13-49 9-31
    Assists 13 11
    Turnovers 17 10
    Steals 5 11
    Blocks 5 8
    Fast Break Points 2 0
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 13 (0/0) 17 (0/0)