Sparks-Shock Preview

The Associated Press

Candace Parker and Kristi Toliver both turned in impressive All-Star debuts.

The Los Angeles Sparks hope for similar performances from their duo as they begin the season's second half Friday night on the road against the Tulsa Shock.

Parker, averaging a team-high 18.1 points on 48.2 percent shooting, shot 29.6 percent from the field while averaging 15.5 points as the Sparks (12-6) split four games heading into the break.

But she won MVP honors in Saturday's exhibition after finishing with a record 23 points along with 11 rebounds while leading the West to a 102-98 victory.

Parker, the league's fourth-leading rebounder at 9.2 per game, was playing in her first All-Star game. She was also voted in as a starter in 2011, but didn't play due to injury.

"I hadn't been to one, and this was really special," Parker said. "Being with all these great players and sharing stories, that's what I'll remember from this All-Star game more than what happened on the court."

Toliver also had 21 points in her first All-Star game and helped secure the victory by hitting two free throws with less than 15 seconds left for the final margin.

"Being here this weekend was a lot of joy," said Toliver, who is averaging 14.7 points and 3.3 assists. "It was humbling to be here but I feel like I belong."

The Sparks have averaged 73.0 points during a 2-2 stretch after scoring 85.8 points while starting the season 10-4. They shot a season-low 31.1 percent from the field in a 73-66 home loss to Seattle on July 25, their lowest home scoring output since an 82-65 loss to San Antonio on Sept 6, 2011.

"We have to figure out, through this break, I hope, that we're not always going to be able to hit those shots and teams are going to make adjustments on us and we have to do the same," Parker said.

Tulsa (6-14) will try to limit its turnovers after suffering a 71-60 home loss to Indiana last Thursday, which snapped a season-best three-game winning streak. The Shock committed 19 turnovers, converted into 24 points by the Fever.

"The big number for us today was the turnovers," coach Gary Kloppenburg said. "When they get that many points off that many turnovers, it's hard to overcome."

Glory Johnson, who was held to 11 points and five rebounds, scored two points in nine minutes of action in Saturday's All-Star game.

Los Angeles has won 12 of the teams' last 15 meetings since 2010, including two earlier this season. Parker averaged 23.5 points on 61.8 percent shooting with 10.5 rebounds in those contests while Toliver averaged 23.0 points and 2.0 steals.

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