Christon scores 11 points in Liberty's 65-61 winAug 12, 2009 - 4:12 AM By BETH HARRIS AP Sports Writer
LOS ANGELES(AP) -- The Los Angeles Sparks beat the WNBA's best one night. They couldn't do the same when the next-to-worst team rolled in the following night.
Shameka Christon scored 11 points, Loree Moore added 10, and the New York Liberty rallied in the second half for a 65-61 victory over the Sparks on Tuesday night.
The Sparks' two-game winning streak ended a night after they beat Indiana, the top team in the league. On Monday, Lisa Leslie became the first WNBA player to score 6,000 career points, and she followed it up with 12 points on 5-of-18 shooting against the Liberty.
"I take full responsibility for this loss because I had a lot of shots in the paint that I just missed," she said. "I had really good looks, and my teammates gave me the ball, so it's just not good.
"Fatigue was definitely a factor. I didn't have enough legs," she said.
There is little rest for the Sparks in Leslie's final season before she retires. They play a back-to-back against Sacramento starting Friday at home.
"I knew this was going to be a tough game for us after playing a back-to-back," Sparks coach Michael Cooper said. "The frustrating part is we had an opportunity to win and we didn't go get it being at home."
That's where New York is headed after ending its longest road trip of the season with a 2-3 record. The Liberty, last in the Eastern Conference, improved to 4-8 on the road and split the season series. Janel McCarville was held to eight points, well below the 18.8 she had averaged in five previous games.
"We knew they were a big lineup, but we didn't think bigger was better," Christon said. "We just kept fighting and executing, doing whatever we could to win the game."
Candace Parker scored her 11 points in the second half and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Sparks, who committed 15 turnovers and fell to 5-3 at home. Betty Lennox added 11 points.
"That's going to kill you every time," Cooper said about the miscues. "That and I thought we shot the ball a little too quick in our offense, and down the stretch we didn't box out. Rebounding is going to be key for us and if you don't box out and rebound, you're not going to win many games."
Parker scored eight points down the stretch to get the Sparks to 63-61 with 36 seconds left. She made three consecutive trips to the foul line and went 4 of 6, missing one that would've left her team trailing by one.
"We needed this win and we messed around and didn't get it," she said.
Essence Carson scored on a driving layup with 20 seconds to go. She then lost the ball on a bad pass and Noelle Quinn swiped it away, but her jumper missed with 5 seconds left.
"Loree Moore was the difference in the second half for us," Christon said. "She pushed the ball for us in transition which led to easy baskets which we needed. She was also everywhere on defense. She stepped up big for us."
New York built a nine-point lead in the fourth, outscoring the Sparks 10-2 at the start. Leslie picked up her fourth foul, and Parker was called for her third in that stretch.
"In the second half we pushed the ball and had a better tempo that helped us pull away," Moore said. "We kept trying to run because we knew they might have been tired from playing back-to-back games."
The Sparks blew a six-point lead in the third quarter, when the Liberty outscored them 15-4 at the start to go up 47-41. Moore scored six and Christon added four in the spurt while Los Angeles committed multiple bad-pass turnovers.
"We kind of relaxed in the third quarter like we always do," Parker said. "We waited until too late to start to play."
Parker rallied the Sparks with a basket and a free throw to put them back in front 50-49. But Ashley Battle answered with a jumper in the waning seconds that gave the Liberty a 51-50 lead going into the final 10 minutes.
Los Angeles twice led by eight points in the second quarter, the last time on Lennox's third 3-pointer of the period. But the Liberty outscored the Sparks 7-3, including back-to-back baskets by Carson, to trail 37-33 at the break.
NEW YORK 65
LOS ANGELES 61 FINAL
Aug 11 11:00 PM
NEW YORK 12
LOS ANGELES 17 END, 1ST QTR
Aug 11 9:24 PM
- WNBA Capsules May 21
- WNBA Capsules May 21
- WNBA Capsules May 15
- WNBA Capsules May 14
- NY Liberty acquire Wings' Amanda Zahui B for draft pick May 11
- Indiana trades Layshia Clarendon to Atlanta for draft pick May 10
- Minnesota Lynx re-sign ex-Gopher center Janel McCarville May 7
- Liberty trade for All-Star guard Shoni Schimmel May 2
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- Candace Parker disappointed, will not be on US hoops roster Apr 26
- AP Sources: Candace Parker left off Rio roster Apr 25
- LA Sparks guard Riquna Williams to miss season with injury Mar 30