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Thompson's 30 points snaps Sparks' 3-game slide

Jul 29, 2009 - 3:16 AM MINNEAPOLIS(AP) -- Tina Thompson took a page from Boston Celtics star Ray Allen's playbook and helped the Los Angeles Sparks snap a three-game losing streak.

Thompson shook off a 3 for 11 start from the floor to score a season-high 30 points to lead Los Angeles to a 76-70 victory over the Minnesota Lynx on Tuesday.

After the Sparks let a 13-point halftime lead evaporate and trailed by as many as three in the fourth quarter, Thompson scored 10 points in Los Angeles' late 14-6 run to pull away.

"I kind of have adopted the Ray Allen mentality, if you don't make the first four you have to count on the fifth one going in," Thompson said. "You can't get down when you miss shots."

Last season's most valuable player and rookie of the year, Candace Parker, playing in her sixth game following from maternity leave, earned her second straight double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Betty Lennox and DeLisha Milton-Jones both had 11 points for the Sparks (5-9), who notched just their second road victory in 10 tries while improving to 2-3 on its seven-game road trip.

They are trying to get back into the playoff picture.

"People have to understand we've yet to see our full team in effect," coach Michael Cooper said. "We've got Candace coming back, Lisa (Leslie) has yet to come back, and hopefully that will happen very soon. So whatever is to be said and done is going to have to come through L.A."

Leslie has not played since June 19 due to a right knee sprain.

Roneeka Hodges scored 14 points to pace Minnesota (10-8). Tasha Humphrey added 11, and Charde Houston scored 10 for the Lynx, who have lost three consecutive home games and four of five at Target Center.

Minnesota starter Candice Wiggins played less than three minutes in the third quarter and sat out the entire fourth due to fluid buildup in her right knee.

Lynx coach Jennifer Gillom said Wiggins would rest the next two days and be fine for Friday's game at Detroit. Wiggins' four points marked a season low.

Still, Minnesota made it close despite a dismal first half.

"There were times we had shining moments, but I'm proud of them for making the comeback we did," Gillom said. "The moments that were critical were the times we had good-looking shots and the ball would just rim out. It's just unfortunate."

After jumping out to a 6-0 lead, the Lynx surrendered 20 consecutive points before countering with an 11-1 run to cut the deficit to four with 7:48 to play in the first half.

The Sparks came right back with a 14-5 run to lead 35-22 at halftime, despite shooting 34.4 percent. Minnesota shot a woeful 27.3 percent en route to its lowest scoring first half of the season.

The Lynx more than doubled their first-half total in the third quarter and took a 60-57 on Rashanda McCants' layup with 5:44 to play in the fourth. But Thompson's basket and free throw with 4:04 put the Sparks up for good, sparking the final run.

"We have to win games in order to get into the playoffs and this was a good start," Thompson said. "You can't vie for a championship without winning road games, so this was a good step for us."

NOTES: Spanish star Anna Montanana made her WNBA debut for the Lynx after signing with the club on Sunday. She finished with two points, two rebounds and two fouls in 15 minutes. Montanana most recently played in the EuroBasket tournament with Spain, averaging 16.2 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game in the nine contests.

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