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Silver Stars-Sparks Preview

Jun 30, 2010 - 7:32 PM By ALAN FERGUSON STATS Writer

San Antonio (5-8) at Los Angeles (3-11), 10:30 p.m. EDT

The San Antonio Silver Stars lead a pack of teams vying for second place in the Western Conference, but they could use better results away from home to remain in that spot.

A matchup with the struggling Los Angeles Sparks could be what San Antonio needs to claim its second road win in six weeks Thursday night.

The Silver Stars (5-8) have gone 2-5 away from home but are the best among a group of sub-.500 teams that lag far behind league-leading Seattle in the West.

To stay ahead of that pack, San Antonio could use some road wins as it will spend the first two weeks of July much like it spent much of June - away from home.

The Silver Stars play three of four on the road to open July and end the month with another four of five outside San Antonio. They saw their home floor twice in eight games in June, winning both contests, but recorded their only road victory June 18 against Phoenix.

San Antonio followed that win with a pair of losses at Seattle, falling 86-72 on Tuesday. Becky Hammon scored a season-high 24 points and Chamique Holdsclaw added 16, but they were the only players in double figures for the Silver Stars, who shot 38.9 percent.

"I said to the girls that we now have an opportunity to go to L.A. and we need to win it," coach Sandy Brondello said. "We know Seattle is a hard matchup, and they're the best team. We're not there at the moment, but we have to concentrate and make sure we win the games that are coming up."

The first of those will have them facing a Sparks team that's dropped four in a row since losing All-Star forward Candace Parker for the rest of the season to a dislocated left shoulder. Reserve guard Betty Lennox is also expected to miss at least four weeks because of knee surgery.

"We have to make adjustments every day," forward Tina Thompson said. "We have players playing in different positions, but we're working through it."

Noelle Quinn has tried to help her short-handed team by averaging 15.0 points in her last four games - 5.7 above her season average - and she scored a career-high 24 against New York on Tuesday.

The Sparks (3-11), however, had just two other players in double figures during the 80-68 loss and will now be trying to avoid dropping five in a row for the first time since Aug. 3-11, 2007.

With Parker in the lineup, the Sparks fell 88-81 in their only meeting this season with San Antonio on May 22. DeLisha Milton-Jones paced Los Angeles with 20 points, while Holdsclaw's 19 led five Silver Stars in double figures.

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