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Parkers Leads Sparks Over Mercury 88-76 For Fifth Straight Win

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Candace Parker ## of the Los Angeles Sparks lays up a shot against the Phoenix Mercury during the WNBA game at US Airways Center on July 14, 2013 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Candace Parker ## of the Los Angeles Sparks lays up a shot against the Phoenix Mercury during the WNBA game at US Airways Center on July 14, 2013 in Phoenix, Arizona. (credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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PHOENIX (AP) — Candace Parker had 21 points, eight rebounds and five assists to lead the Los Angeles Sparks to their fifth straight win, an 88-76 victory Sunday over the Phoenix Mercury.

Nneka Ogwumike added 16 points and 13 rebounds for the Sparks, who have beaten their last five opponents by an average of 18.6 points a game after a 5-4 start.

Phoenix (8-7) played its second straight game without No. 1 draft pick Brittney Griner, who has a sore left knee injured June 6 against Minnesota.

Los Angeles took control early with a 13-point run in the first quarter and then held off Phoenix rallies in the second and third quarters.

Diana Taurasi had 23 points, including three 3-pointers, to lead the Mercury, who have lost three straight after winning five in a row. DeWanna Bonner added 17 points and four rebounds for Phoenix.

Lindsey Harding added 15 points and five assists for the Sparks (10-4), the top scoring and best shooting team in the league, whose transition game led to 21 fast-break points on Sunday.

Ogwumike scored four points in a seven-point spurt midway through the third quarter that gave Los Angeles separation. The team had traded baskets to start the period but Ogwumike’s layup made it 60-47.

Parker scored 14 first-half points to lead the Sparks to a 43-37 advantage at the break.

Taurasi quickly picked up two fouls in the first 3:10 of the game and Phoenix missed 11 of its first 14 shots, trailing 20-13 after the first quarter.

The Mercury beat the Sparks 97-81 on June 14.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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