84 - 79 Final
  for this game

Dream rally to knock off Sparks 84-79

Sep 2, 2009 - 6:05 AM LOS ANGELES(AP) -- The Atlanta Dream finally got a quality win without Chamique Holdsclaw, thanks to Iziane Castro Marques.

Castro Marques scored 12 of her 27 points in the final 2:38, and the Dream rallied for an 84-79 victory over the Los Angeles Sparks on Tuesday night.

Atlanta beat a winning team for the first time since Holdsclaw underwent arthroscopic knee surgery Aug. 25. Holdsclaw and Castro Marques were averaging 13.9 points as the Dream's co-leaders before the game.

"It's a great win for us," Castro Marques said. "We have two back-to-back (series) at the end of the season, so it gives us great confidence."

Before beating Los Angeles, the Dream had lost three of four games without Holdsclaw in the lineup. Atlanta's only victory came against the Sacramento Monarchs.

"She's been such a great leader on the court for us," Dream coach Marynell Meadors said. "She's been so valuable to us. When she's not there, somebody else has to step up. But they haven't had to do that all year."

Castro Marques said her speed was the key to her big night.

"I think I'm one of the fastest players in this league," said Castro Marques, who fell four points shy of her career best. "Most of the teams can't keep up with me when I'm at full speed. So I try to play as fast as I can all the time."

Sancho Lyttle added 14 points and seven rebounds, and Michelle Snow had 12 points and six rebounds for the Dream (16-14), who broke a two-game losing streak.

Lisa Leslie scored 24 points for the Sparks (15-15), who have lost two of three after winning six consecutive games. Tina Thompson added 19 points and Candace Parker had 15 points and a season-best 14 rebounds.

"This was a game we gave away," Sparks coach Michael Cooper said. "When the game got tough, they took it to us and we couldn't recover. We got pushed and shoved. It's not just about the fundamentals. It's about being tough."

Los Angeles, which led by as many as nine points, held a 69-65 lead with 5:14 to play. But Atlanta used a 7-0 spurt to move ahead 72-69 with 2:38 remaining.

"We just kept coming at them," Meadors said. "We just never stop. This team never knows defeat until the end of the game."

DeLisha Milton-Jones' jumper narrowed the Sparks' deficit to 72-71. But Castro Marques made two 3-pointers within 32 seconds as the Dream extended their advantage to 78-73 with 1:37 to play.

Atlanta made 20 of 28 free throws while Los Angeles converted seven of 10.

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