Sun rally from 16 down to top Sparks 78-75Jun 19, 2010 - 5:40 AM LOS ANGELES(AP) -- Tina Charles had career highs of 26 points and a team-record 19 rebounds and the Connecticut Sun rallied from a 16-point deficit for a 78-75 victory over the Los Angeles Sparks on Friday night.
Sandrine Gruda added 12 points for the Sun (7-3), who moved within one game of first-place Atlanta in the Eastern Conference.
Tina Thompson had 24 points and Marie Ferdinand-Harris added 16 points for the Sparks (3-8), who played without Candace Parker for the first time this season.
Parker, who sat on the bench in street clothes, is out for the season after dislocating her left shoulder Sunday against Minnesota.
She'll "very likely" also will miss the world championships that begin in September, the Sparks' media relations director said.
"It definitely makes a difference," Charles said of Parker's absence. "When you have size, it makes you more confident out there. They had to worry more because we had a lot of post presence out there."
The Sparks are "trying to figure out what their identity should be now without her," Sun coach Mike Thibault said. "They're playing forwards at center."
Los Angeles coach Jennifer Gillom said the WNBA's salary cap limits the options for seeking a replacement, though the Sparks placed Parker on the injured list.
"We'll either have to trade a player or cut a player," Gillom said. "We just can't add a player. We have to get rid of a player to get a player."
Los Angeles had a 57-41 lead when Connecticut used a 20-0 run to move ahead 61-57 with 45.6 seconds left in the third quarter. Charles and Gruda scored eight points apiece during the surge, as the Sparks failed to score for more than 6 minutes.
"We didn't match their intensity in the third quarter," Gillom said. "We've just got to be able to play for four quarters, maintain leads and really get after it."
Thompson's two free throws with 3:37 to play gave the Sparks a 73-72 lead before Charles' follow shot put the Sun ahead 74-73 with 3:20 left. Los Angeles then failed to score on its next three possessions.
After Gruda made a jumper with 54 seconds to play, Ferdinand-Harris appeared to make a 3-point shot that would have tied it at 76-76 with 1.5 seconds left. But game officials ruled the shot to be worth 2 points after video review.
Thompson made a free throw in the first quarter to become the second player in WNBA history with 6,000 career points. Lisa Leslie is the leader with 6,263.
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