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Mystics-Sparks Preview

May 27, 2010 - 8:34 PM By KATE HEDLIN STATS Writer

Washington (3-2) at Los Angeles (0-3), 10:30 p.m. EDT

Saddled by the worst start in franchise history, the Los Angeles Sparks hope playing at home for the first time this year will finally get them in the win column.

The Sparks open their Staples Center schedule Friday night against the Washington Mystics, who are trying to avoid their third straight loss after a hot start.

Los Angeles (0-3), which is the last team to play a home opener, wrapped up their season-opening swing with an 88-81 loss to San Antonio on Saturday.

Down 13 early in the second half, the Sparks took a 65-64 lead with 7:46 remaining on a driving layup by Candace Parker, but failed to close out the Silver Stars in former Sparks star Chamique Holdsclaw's debut.

"I think we took a minute to wake up, and that was tough for us," said Parker, who had 12 points and 10 rebounds. "I feel that we needed to play aggressive from the start, and we waited awhile to execute. They executed down the stretch and we didn't. That's been the story of our last three games."

DeLisha Milton-Jones led Los Angeles with 20 points.

A return home could bode well for the Sparks. In 2009, Los Angeles won its first three games there, and finished 11-6.

To get off to another good start at home, the Sparks will need more from Parker. The third-year star is averaging 15.3 points, but has scored 22 in the last two games combined while shooting 35.7 percent.

Washington (3-2), which opened with three consecutive wins, is coming off an 82-76 loss to Seattle on Tuesday. The Mystics had a 10-point lead late in the third quarter before the Storm went on a 31-10 run.

Coach Julie Plank's club was outscored 36-25 in the fourth.

"We gave up like four or five wide open threes in the fourth quarter that really got the crowd in the game and brought them back," she said. "Thirty-six points in the quarter - that's not going to do it."

The Mystics have allowed 81.0 points per game in their losses, up from the 67.3 allowed during the winning streak.

Monique Currie led Washington with 24 points, and is among the WNBA's top scorers at 19.2 points per game.

Los Angeles and Washington split two meetings last season. Parker had 15 points, 12 rebounds and five assists in a 72-69 victory on Aug. 18 at Staples.

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