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Parker, Sparks hand Sun fifth straight loss

Day Staff and Wire Reports

Publication: TheDay.com

Published August 28. 2013 4:00AM

Los Angeles — The Connecticut Sun showed some familiar traits against the Los Angeles Sparks on Tuesday that have plagued them throughout their frustrating season.

Connecticut started off poorly, rallied back from a large deficit, but ultimately lost, 91-78, before 11,401 at the Staples Center.

It was the Sun's fifth straight loss as they fell to 7-20, the WNBA's worst record.

The Sparks are 20-8.

"I think we fought hard," Connecticut's Renee Montgomery said. "We had opportunities where we could have made a run at it, (but) we had key turnovers (and) key offensive rebounds we gave up."

The Sun turned it over seven times in the first nine minutes and trailed, 29-12, after the first quarter.

Connecticut outscored the Sparks in both the second and third quarter. It got as close as 73-68 with over six minutes left in the game.

"They (the Sparks) played good," Sun Tina Charles said. "They play great with each other out there. It's evident. We gave a good effort and fought hard just trying to cut the lead down. There were spurts and pockets we played as a great team."

Candace Parker scored a game-high 28 with seven assists and eight rebounds for Los Angeles. Nneka Ogwumike added 20 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.

Charles had 18 points and nine rebounds and Iziane Castro Marques scored a season-high 19 with six rebounds off the bench. Fellow reserve Mistie Bass added 14 points.

The Sun dressed just nine players. Guards Kelly Faris (left foot injury) and Allison Hightower (right knee strain) have been shut down for the season due to injury. Fellow guard Kara Lawson was home to be with her father, Bill, who is recovering from a heart attack.

Lindsey Harding scored 12 of her 18 points in the first half to give the Sparks a boost.

"Harding scoring as well as she did in the first 20 minutes was problematic for us," Sun coach Anne Donovan said. "We spent a lot of our energy worrying about Candace and how we were going to double team her, how to contain Nneka. … We did a good job on Kristi (Toliver) tonight, but Harding came out stronger than we needed her to. They're just a tough team to prepare for."

Parker scored 12 points in the first quarter. She highlighted the first half with a no-look pass to Ogwumike for a fast-break layup that gave Los Angeles a 49-35 lead at the break.

Connecticut pulled within nine points three times late the third quarter, and Parker responded each time with scoring drives to the basket and a trip to the free-throw line.

Castro Marques' 3-pointer cut the Sun's deficit to 73-68 with six minutes, 47 seconds left in the game. The Sparks called timeout, and Parker began an 11-2 run with a tough baseline shot and ended it with free throws.

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