Sparks Pay Back the Lynx

From the Associated Press

Lisa Leslie missed having Chamique Holdsclaw around the first time the Sparks played the Minnesota Lynx. She was happy to have her teammate back for Sunday's matchup.

Leslie's 29 points and Holdsclaw's 20 carried the Sparks over the Lynx, 90-78, at Target Center.

"They're special players," Sparks Coach Joe Bryant said. "I am very fortunate as a coach to have those two players and also to have someone like Chamique to come off the bench."

Holdsclaw was absent from the Sparks' 114-71 loss in Minnesota on May 31 to attend to a family matter, and Leslie scored only eight points.

"We watched a little bit of video on that, and we weren't happy looking at ourselves playing, but at the same time we had no excuses," Leslie said. "I thought, overall, tonight we played really well."

Said Holdsclaw: "I wasn't here the first game, but we knew we had to play defense. You have to hit the glass hard, and we did."

Leslie had 14 rebounds for the Sparks (18-5), who had a 12-2 edge on the offensive boards in the second half. The victory was the fifth consecutive for L.A., which turned 18 Lynx turnovers into 26 points.

"We don't take any game for granted," Leslie said.

Seimone Augustus, who led the West with 16 points in the WNBA All-Star game, scored 25 in Minnesota's first game since the break.

"When it's all said and done, we have to get better defensively," said Minnesota Coach Suzie McConnell Serio, whose Lynx (7-13) trailed 61-59 with 1:46 left in the third quarter. "Yes, this was a missed opportunity."

Leslie and Holdsclaw combined for 12 points at the start of the fourth period, fueling a 12-4 run that gave the Sparks their biggest lead at 80-66.

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