Sparks rout SacramentoAug 16, 2009 - 5:04 AM SACRAMENTO, Calif.(AP) -- The Los Angeles Sparks weren't about to lose to the lowly Sacramento Monarchs on consecutive nights.
Candace Parker scored 18 points and grabbed seven rebounds to help the Sparks rout Sacramento 78-61 on Saturday night.
Parker made her first six shots as Los Angeles established a double-digit lead and never allowed the Monarchs to get within 14 points in the second half. The Monarchs (7-18) had beaten Los Angeles 85-79 on Friday night.
"Last night we woke up a sleeping giant," said Sacramento veteran point guard Ticha Penicheiro. "They had lost two straight games at home to last place teams and they have a lot of pride. They came in here with a different attitude tonight. They were a totally different team from the start and I think we were a little fatigued."
Noelle Quinn scored 14 points, DeLisha Milton-Jones had 13 and Lisa Leslie added 12 points and nine rebounds for the Sparks, who snapped a two-game losing streak. The win kept the Sparks (9-13) one game behind San Antonio in the chase for the fourth playoff spot in the Western conference.
"Despite what has happened this year, we still believe we can do it," said Leslie, who had a season-high 25 points in Friday's loss. "We can beat any team in this league when we play together like we did tonight."
The Sparks shot 56 percent,outrebounded Sacramento 33-23, and blocked five shots, including three by Parker. The Monarchs never got in a groove offensively and shot 39 percent, including hitting only two 3-pointers.
"Our defense was really good tonight, we really stayed in front of their shooters," Sparks coach Michael Cooper said. "Sacramento shot very well last night and it's hard to shoot that well playing a team back-to-back."
Nicole Powell led Sacramento with 20 points, Rebekkah Brunson had 14 points and 11 rebounds, while DeMya Walker added 10 points.
Saturday's defeat denied the Monarchs of their first three-game winning streak of the season. The loss guaranteed Sacramento its first losing season since 2002 when the Monarchs were 14-18. The Monarchs have the worst record in the WNBA.
"We'll see what the greatest need is for us when the draft comes," Sacramento coach John Whisenant said. "If we get in the lottery hopefully we'll get the No. 1 pick."
Ahead by 13 points at the half, Los Angeles opened the third quarter with a 7-2 run and quickly stretched the lead to 43-24 as the Monarchs continued to struggle offensively.
Parker scored 14 points and Milton-Jones had nine in the opening half when Los Angeles led 35-22. The Monarchs went nearly five minutes without scoring in the second quarter and were outscored 16-7.
"That's just the way it went tonight (with Parker)," Cooper said. "We wanted to get her going early last night, but they played us tough and it didn't happen. She reasserted herself tonight and we wanted to find her. She's really made leaps and bounds in terms of progress over the past week or so."
Two-time U.S. Olympic gold medal beach volleyball player Misty May-Treanor was honored at halftime on "Women of Inspiration Night."
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