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Leslie matches career high with 32 points as Sparks torch Sun

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Although Lisa Leslie tied a career high with
32 points, she credited Christi Thomas for helping the Los Angeles
Sparks win their fourth straight.

Leslie scored 32 points and Thomas had 16 points and 11 rebounds
as the Sparks beat the Connecticut Sun 82-70 Saturday night.

"It's huge for Christi," Leslie said after the game, loud
enough so Thomas could hear her on the opposite side of the locker
room. "Once you do it once, you've got to do it twice, and once
you do it twice, you've got to do it again.

"So the expectations have risen for Christi, and we are
expecting that every game. Can you hear me?"

Thomas, who had a career-high 18 points in a victory over
Phoenix on Tuesday night, sat in front of her locker, laughing and
nodding her head.

"A lot of the production from me came off the offensive
boards," Thomas said. "I was lucky enough to get into some
seams."

Thomas had seven offensive rebounds on a night the Sparks
outrebounded the Sun 41-25, including 22-10 offensive. The Sparks
(7-3) are 4-0 at home after an 89-79 overtime loss at New York on
June 3 capped a 3-3 road trip to start the season.

Asjha Jones scored 16 points and Margo Dydek added 13 for
Connecticut (7-3), which lost its second game in two nights after
winning five straight.

"We looked kind of tired out there," Dydek said. "They got 20
offensive boards, and that's too much. Thomas had a good game
tonight, especially on the boards."

The Sparks took control for good at the outset of the fourth
quarter, scoring six consecutive points in the first 2-plus minutes
to take a 64-56 lead.

The Sun pulled to 66-62 on a free throw by Taj
McWilliams-Franklin with 6:47 left. The Sparks scored on their next
three possessions, with Thomas hitting 3-pointer to give the Sparks
a 73-62 lead with 4:34 left.

Connecticut never pulled any closer than nine points the rest of
the way. Leslie also had seven rebounds and five assists.

In the first half, the Sparks turned an 11-point first-quarter
deficit into a an eight-point lead by the latter minutes of the
second quarter. A 16-2 run gave Los Angeles a 40-32 lead, but a 6-0
spurt pulled the Sun to within 40-38 at the break.

Leslie scored 20 first-half points while also doing a good job
defensively on Dydek, the Sun's 7-foot-2 center.

Connecticut made four of their first five 3-point attempts for
an early 14-6 lead. But in the second quarter, the Sparks made 9 of
14 shots (64.3 percent) while the Sun were just 5-for-19 (26.3
percent).

The Sun made just two field goals in the last 5 minutes of the
first half, and then two field goals in the first 5 minutes of the
second half as the Sparks began to take control.