Rested Sparks run by Atlanta

From the Associated Press

ATLANTA -- Eight days after a record-breaking 34-point debut by rookie Candace Parker, the Sparks went back to routine business Sunday with a 74-56 victory over the expansion Atlanta Dream.

DeLisha Milton-Jones scored 15 points, Lisa Leslie added 14, and Parker and Marie Ferdinand-Harris each had 12 for the Sparks (2-0), who led 41-21 by halftime and never trailed. Leslie also contributed 10 rebounds and six blocked shots.

Parker, who had 10 of her points in the first half, said the team was craving some "real-time game action." Her final totals included seven rebounds and six assists.

Leslie said the Sparks' size forced Atlanta, which shot 29%, into altering a lot of shots.

"We're long and very active," Leslie said. "We can easily make switches between our perimeter and post players. It's kind of a luxury for us."

As well as the Sparks' offense did, making 55.6% of its three-point shots and outscoring the Dream 19-6 on fastbreak points, Leslie saw room for improvement.

"It's comforting to get this win under our belt after having so many days off practicing," Leslie said. "Over time, with more games, our chemistry should be able to grow even better than what it is now."

Iziane Castro Marques scored 15 of her 17 points in the second half to lead the Dream (0-3), which was limited to six points in the second quarter. Betty Lennox, who scored 21 points in the Dream's previous game against Detroit, finished with four points on one-for-10 shooting.

"We took quick shots," said Dream Coach Marynell Meadors, "and I think any time you take quick shots out of your offense it's going to lead to a layup" for the opponents.

The only other Atlanta player in double figures was Erika Desouza, who had 11 points and six rebounds.

Sparks Coach Michael Cooper was philosophical about the time off.

"We got tired of beating up on ourselves," Cooper said. "But we know we have to take advantage of this now because in about two or three weeks, we'll be playing every other night. It's good that we're taking baby steps."

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