Stars-Sparks Preview

The Associated Press

The Los Angeles Sparks have ended a four-game losing streak and now have an opportunity to avenge the most lopsided defeat they suffered in that 10-day span.

The Sparks will try to win back-to-back games for the first time this season Sunday when they host the San Antonio Stars, whose 27-point victory over Los Angeles last weekend will be fresh in both teams' minds.

Los Angeles (4-7) defeated Tulsa 87-77 on Thursday at home behind 24 points from Candace Parker, a season-high 20 from Alana Beard and Jantel Lavender's 18 points and career-high 13 rebounds.

"After losing four, you kind of forget the feeling of what it is to leave a game and win," said Parker, whose team shot 51.5 percent. "I think it feels good, but don't think that this won the championship or anything like that. But it's a good start."

Beard is averaging 19.0 points on 64.0 percent shooting in her last two games after managing 8.5 on 33.3 percent over her previous six.

They also got a season-high 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting from reserve guard Lindsey Harding, who had gone 8 for 31 over her previous four contests.

"Obviously this is a great win, a great step," Harding said. "But there is a lot of stuff for us to work on."

That was particularly evident in a 101-74 loss at San Antonio on June 14 in which the Stars shot 54.8 percent on their way to their highest regulation scoring output since a 102-91 win over Phoenix on July 28, 2011.

San Antonio guard Danielle Robinson scored a season-high 24 points, while Kayla McBride went 4 for 4 from 3-point range on her way to 20 points as the Stars (6-6) evened the season series between the Western Conference foes at 1-all.

Robinson kept at it with 20 points and eight assists Thursday as the Stars strung together wins with an 87-82 overtime win in Seattle. The fourth-year guard made 10 of 11 free throws and is now shooting 93.3 percent (42 of 45) from the line.

It wasn't her best shooting night from the field, going 5 of 17, so the team went to Danielle Adams in the closing seconds of regulation to knock down a tying 3-pointer. Adams later connected on another 3 to score five of her 10 points in the extra period.

"She really hadn't finished well for us in a game," Stars coach Dan Hughes said of Adams. "That's a player stepping up and she carried it over into overtime. That was a big shot. She's capable of making that, we just had a hard time getting her going to that point."

The Sparks' first meeting with the Stars in Los Angeles went considerably better, resulting in an 83-62 victory on May 25. It was their fifth straight home win in the series, including the postseason, with a 23.0-point average margin of victory.