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Sparks finish what they start with 68-54 victory over Liberty

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Sparks go on 12-2 run early in fourth quarter to pull away from Liberty, 68-54
Nneka Ogwumike has 15 points to help the Sparks win at New York

Nneka Ogwumike scored 15 points and Jantel Lavender added 14 to help the Los Angeles Sparks beat the New York Liberty, 68-54, on Friday night.

Candace Parker had 14 points for the Sparks (8-11), who are in the midst of a four-game road trip. They will play Connecticut on Sunday in a game that features a matchup between Ogwumike and her sister, Chiney, who attended Friday night's game.

Tina Charles scored 20 points for New York (7-13), which has dropped two straight games after a successful homestand during which the Liberty won four of five.

Cappie Pondexter was held scoreless for the second time this season. She played only 18 minutes and missed all five of her shots.

The score was tied at 29 midway through the second quarter when Los Angeles closed the half with a 13-4 run. Ogwumike got the spurt started with a steal and layup. Alana Beard had five points during the rally.

The Sparks extended the lead to 48-38 in the third quarter before New York rallied behind Charles. She scored eight points during a 12-4 run that brought the Liberty within 52-50 with 1:48 left in the quarter. That's as close as they got.

Los Angeles scored the final four points of the quarter and then held New York to just two points in the first seven minutes of the fourth, outscoring the Liberty, 12-2, to put the game away.

The Sparks had struggled closing games out this season, losing five when they had a lead late in the fourth quarter. Parker and Ogwumike made sure that wouldn't happen against New York, which only had four points in the fourth quarter.

The game marked the Liberty debut for Swin Cash, who was acquired on Wednesday for Delisha Milton-Jones. The move reunited Cash with former coach Bill Laimbeer, who coached her for six years for in Detroit.

Cash entered the game for the first time late in the first quarter. She scored her first basket in the second quarter and finished the game with four points in 13 minutes.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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