Milton-Jones, Toliver lead Sparks past SkyAug 5, 2010 - 5:48 AM LOS ANGELES (AP) -- DeLisha Milton-Jones scored 22 points and Kristi Toliver added 12 of her 17 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Los Angeles Sparks to a 82-77 victory over the Chicago Sky on Wednesday night.
Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton had career highs of 16 points and 13 rebounds for the Sparks (9-17), who move within a half-game of fourth-place Minnesota in the race for the final Western Conference playoff spot with eight games left.
Marie Ferdinand-Harris scored 15 points for Los Angeles and Ticha Penicheiro added a season-high 15 assists, one shy of the WNBA single-game record.
"I knew from practice on Monday and Tuesday that we would come out and have a great night," Sparks coach Jennifer Gillom said. "They practiced like a team that wanted to win the playoffs.
"If you compare practices from the beginning of the season until now, it's incredible."
Sparks forward Tina Thompson missed the game to attend a friend's funeral, remaining 26 points away from breaking Lisa Leslie's record for the most career points in WNBA history.
Jia Perkins scored 16 points for the Sky (12-16), who lost their fourth straight and fifth in six games. Tamera Young added 14 points and Sylvia Fowles had 12 points and 11 rebounds.
"It's unfortunate for us," said Sky coach Steven Key, acknowledging each loss could sabotage his team's playoff chances. "We knew a month ago that every game was gong to be a 'must' win. We've got six games left. We've got to win them all and then still get a little bit of help."
After trailing by 10 points, Chicago closed to within 76-75 with 54.3 seconds to play. Toliver then made two free throws with 34.6 seconds left to extend the lead to three points.
Perkins had a chance to tie the score but missed a 3-point shot with 20 seconds to go. The Sky's Erin Thorn tried to keep the ball from going out of bounds but Penichero caught Thorn's blind pass, got fouled and made two free throws to extend the margin to 79-75 with 16.7 seconds left.
With Los Angeles leading 80-77, Thorn missed an off-balance shot from 3-point range. Milton-Jones grabbed the rebound made two free throws after being fouled.
Due to Thompson's absence, and injuries to Candace Parker and Betty Lennox, the Sparks dressed just eight players.
"I'm sure everybody in the WNBA probably thought we would lose this game with the eight players we have," Gillom said. "That just proves to me and goes to show you that players with the most heart can win games."
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