Sparks-Sun Preview

The Associated Press

Candace Parker played a major role in the Los Angeles Sparks' sweep of the Connecticut Sun last season, but her status is unknown for the first meeting of 2013.

If Parker has to miss a third consecutive game, the Sparks will try to pick up the slack once again while ending the Sun's only win streak this season.

Parker averaged 28.0 points on 58.8 percent shooting (20 of 34) and 13.0 rebounds in last season's two wins over the Sun. She had 33 points and 16 rebounds in Los Angeles' only visit to Connecticut in 2012, an 87-81 victory June 13.

Parker, however, is currently day-to-day because of a wrist injury and has missed the first two of her team's season-high five straight road games. The Sparks (13-7) opened the trip with a 96-89 loss to Tulsa on Friday but bounced back with a 75-57 rout of Washington two days later.

Nneka Ogwumike had 22 points and 10 rebounds, while Lindsey Harding contributed a career-high 14 assists, two shy of matching the league record.

"I think that the idea of this team is we want to be able to win a man down," Harding said. "Whether it's me, whether it's Kristi (Toliver), or whether it's Candace. And also know that with her in, how good we will be and how good we can be."

With Parker healthy in last season's series, Los Angeles swept a team that finished with the best record in the East. The Sun (6-12) enter the first of this season's two meetings in last place in the conference but have recorded back-to-back wins for the first time this season.

After beating Indiana 70-64 on Thursday, Connecticut followed with an 88-66 drubbing of New York on Saturday.

Renee Montgomery had nine of her season-high 18 points in the third quarter, and Tina Charles recorded her fourth straight double-double - one shy of matching her season-best streak - with 21 points and 14 rebounds.

"She's much more confident,'' Connecticut coach Anne Donovan said. "I think it speaks to her maturity. She's getting doubled and tripled and still puts up a double-double. She has that grindstone mentality that she's going to tough it out. That's an MVP kind of mindset for sure.''

Charles also topped 20 points in the win over Indiana, and Connecticut is averaging 79.0 in its last two games after scoring 58.3 per game during a string of three consecutive defeats.

Charles averaged 20.0 points and 13.0 rebounds last season against Los Angeles, and she scored a team-best 19 points in last season's home matchup despite missing 18 of a career-high 26 shot attempts.

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