Sparks thoroughly trump Mystics behind Parker, Leslie

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Candace Parker had 15 points and 11 rebounds for her third double-double in four games as the Los Angeles Sparks beat the Washington Mystics 70-59 Saturday.

The Sparks (3-1) led by as many as 16 in the third quarter but fell behind by a point on Nakia Sanford's putback with just over 6 minutes left in the game. However, Los Angeles closed with an 18-6 run to extend its strong start while opening the season on a five-game road trip.

"The biggest key to winning the game was getting stops, boxing out, and grabbing defensive rebounds," Parker said.

Lisa Leslie scored 17 points to lead five players in double figures for the Sparks. DeLisha Milton-Jones, playing for the first time in Washington since being dealt for Taj McWilliams-Franklin on April 22, added 12.

"We got off to a slow start and we dug ourselves into a hole," McWilliams-Franklin said. "We managed to get ourselves out of the hole. ... But we also didn't bring enough in the fourth quarter to win."

Monique Currie scored 15 points for the Mystics (2-3), who shot a season-low 31.9 percent, mainly caused by a horrendous first half. They went through a 13-minute span in which they shot 1-for-17 while the Sparks went on a 17-4 run en route to a 37-22 halftime lead.

"Turnovers can hurt you and they especially hurt us when we got the 15 point lead," Parker said. "We started throwing the ball away. Good teams like the Mystics can make up the big difference."

McWilliams-Franklin scored 14 and Sanford had 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Mystics, whose two-game winning streak ended.

"We really showed how tough we could play and that we could play with a team that is considered one of the best teams in the league," Currie said. "We are really looking to learn from this experience and get better and play better."

Earlier in the day, Parker and Leslie were among nine players announced for the U.S. women's team that will compete in the Beijing Olympics. Three more players will be selected at a later date.