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Parker scores 23, Sparks beat Dream 91-87

Aug 24, 2009 - 3:12 AM ATLANTA(AP) -- Candace Parker put on a show for her former coach.

With Pat Summitt watching from courtside, Parker had 23 points and eight rebounds to help the Los Angeles Sparks beat the Atlanta Dream 91-87 on Sunday for their fifth straight victory.

"I could hear Pat in my head," Parker said. "She didn't say anything, but I knew what she was thinking."

Parker and Noell Quinn each scored six points as the Sparks (13-13) used an 18-6 run at the start of the fourth quarter to break open a tie game.

Izzy Castro Marques scored 26 points for Atlanta, which lost for just the second time in the past nine games. Angel McCoughtry added 23 points for the Dream (14-12).

Atlanta played without leading scorer Chamique Holdsclaw, who is bothered by a sore knee. She played only the first quarter Thursday and didn't score in a victory over San Antonio.

"Right now, she's going to the doctor," Dream coach Marynell Meadors said. "We're just not taking any chances with her."

Meadors said that she doesn't know how long Holdsclaw will be out.

"This was the first time we have played without her and I think her presence and leadership is so valuable for us," the Atlanta coach said.

Parker, the WNBA rookie of the year last season, missed the first eight games this year after giving birth and is still not all the way back to peak playing shape.

"I'm definitely not 100 percent, but I'm getting there," said Parker, who played all but three minutes and was 8 for 13 from the floor. "I'm about 85 percent. Come playoffs, it will be 100 percent."

Betty Lennox, who led the Dream in scoring last year, had 14 points for the Sparks in her return to Atlanta. DeLisha Milton-Jones added 13 points, while Quinn and Tina Thompson each scored 12 for Los Angeles.

Los Angeles jumped to a 12-4 lead and was up 30-19 at the end of the first quarter. The Sparks made 11 of their first 20 shots, including three from behind the 3-point arc.

"It was a disappointing loss," said Castro Marques, who made five 3-pointers. "But we'll learn from it."

Los Angeles had a 14-point lead early in the second quarter and led 47-41 at halftime. Lennox had 10 points and Parker scored nine in the first half for the Sparks, while Castro Marques scored 13 points for Atlanta and Ivory Latta had eight.

Castro Marques had 10 points in the third quarter as the Dream erased a six-point deficit and went up by six. Los Angeles tied it a 63-63 going into the final quarter.

Summitt, winner of eight NCAA championships, was recognized at halftime and addressed the remaining fans from the sellout crowd of 11,304 after the game. Four former Lady Vols are on the two teams: Parker and Shannon Bobbitt on the Sparks, and Holdsclaw and Michelle Snow on the Dream.

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