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Sparks can’t keep pace, fall to Monarchs

From the Associated Press

SACRAMENTO -- The Sparks, playing in the second of back-to-back games, ran out of energy as the host Sacramento Monarchs pulled away in the second half for an 87-69 victory on Thursday night.

Candace Parker, coming off a career-high 40-point game in an overtime victory against Houston on Wednesday night, looked sluggish in the opening quarter, getting two points and committing two of the Sparks’ 10 turnovers.

The Sparks finished with 27 turnovers for the game as Sacramento matched its season-high point total and broke open the game in the third quarter by outscoring Los Angeles, 29-11, to take a 15-point lead. The victory ended a three-game losing streak for Sacramento (9-11).

“Any time you turn the ball over 27 times in this league you’re inviting big trouble,” Sparks assistant coach Marianne Stanley said. “We just didn’t take care of the basketball like we can and like we need to. I give their defense credit for that as well.”

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Parker and Sidney Spencer led the Sparks with 14 points each. Parker also had 11 rebounds and six assists. Marie Ferdinand-Harris had 12 points, and Lisa Leslie finished with seven points and four rebounds.

“We got back to how we haven’t been playing, scrapping, clawing, hustling,” Monarchs Coach Jenny Boucek said.

Nicole Powell led the Monarchs with 24 points. Kara Lawson, who was chosen to the U.S. Olympic team earlier in the day, scored 10 of her 13 points in the third quarter.

The Sparks (12-7) play Saturday at Seattle.

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