Sparks 71

(23-6, 10-4 away)

Storm 70

(14-14, 7-8 home)

    9:00 PM ET, July 30, 2006

    Key Arena, Seattle, WA

    1 2 3 4 T
    LA 12 19 20 2071
    SEA 14 14 19 2370

    Top Performers

    Los Angeles: L. Leslie 31 Pts, 5 Reb, 3 Ast, 4 Stl, 2 Blk

    Seattle: L. Jackson 27 Pts, 8 Reb, 3 Stl, 5 Blk

    Leslie drops 31 as Sparks hold off Storm to stay hot

    SEATTLE (AP) -- Lisa Leslie stood between Betty Lennox and the lane with the Los Angeles leading the Seattle Storm by three points in the final seconds. So when Lennox opted not to pass and instead drove in for an 8-foot jumper, Leslie was more than willing to let her have the basket.

    "I was like, 'Oh, you can have two," Leslie said. "I thought she was going to make that pass, but she didn't. It was clearly a mistake on her part."

    Leslie scored 31 points as the Los Angeles Sparks held off the Seattle Storm 71-70 on Sunday for their 10th win in 11 games.

    Leslie shot 14-for-24, Chamique Holdsclaw added 10 points and Temeka Johnson had eight assists for Western Conference-leading Los Angeles (23-6).

    Lauren Jackson had 27 points, eight rebounds and five blocks, Iziane Castro Marques scored 17 points and Betty Lennox added 14 for fourth-place Seattle (14-14). The Storm have lost four straight at home for the first time since 2001 -- the franchise's second season.

    "As I told the players after the All-Star break, every road game was going to be like a playoff game with that type of atmosphere," Los Angeles coach Joe Bryant said.

    Los Angeles, which led 31-28 at halftime, used an 8-0 run to take a 51-43 lead with about 3 minutes left in the third quarter.

    Jackson scored 15 of Seattle's next 17 points as the Storm closed to one at 61-60 midway through the fourth quarter. Castro Marques hit a 3 to tie the score at 64 with 3:10 left.

    Tied at 66, Leslie's low-post move around Jackson gave the 6-foot-5 Leslie enough room to score for a two-point lead. Leslie's steal set up Holdsclaw's transition layup to make it 70-66 with 1:08 to go.

    Lennox, who missed the end of Seattle's game against Detroit on Friday due to a sore right knee, hit a runner in the lane as the shot clock expired to cut the Sparks' lead to two points.

    On the Storm's next possession, Jackson stepped out of bounds with 7.8 seconds left. Jessica Moore was fouled and made one free throw to put Los Angeles up 71-68.

    On the game's final shot, Lennox celebrated after thinking she got fouled and would go to the free-throw line to attempt a tie.

    "Since the call went the other direction with Lauren stepping on the baseline, I thought I could get one at that point in time," Lennox said.

    Seattle shot 38 percent from the field, including just 5-for-20 on 3-pointers. Lennox shot 4-for-11 overall and point guard Sue Bird was 2-for-13 -- 1-for-8 on 3s. Bird had seven assists.

    Jackson, hampered by plantar fasciitis in her left foot all season, dominated in the second half after picking up three first-half fouls. She was 10-for-16 from the field.

    "For her, I'm very concerned about our next game (at Minnesota on Tuesday) and what she's going to have left, because she's playing through so much, you wonder how much she can keep doing," Seattle coach Anne Donovan said.

    Los Angeles, which broke a four-game losing streak to the Storm dating back to June 24, 2005, was without starter Mwadi Mabika -- who was serving a one-game suspension for hitting San Antonio forward Kendra Wecker in the head during Wednesday's game.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

      Los Angeles Seattle
    Points 71 70
    FG Made-Attempted 31-64 (.000) 24-63 (.000)
    3P Made-Attempted 1-7 (.143) 5-20 (.250)
    FT Made-Attempted 8-10 (.000) 17-21 (.000)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 8-30 13-32
    Assists 17 11
    Turnovers 10 14
    Steals 9 9
    Blocks 6 7
    Fast Break Points 8 4
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 18 (2/0) 13 (0/0)