Young leads Silver Stars 91-71
LOS ANGELES (AP) Sophia Young scored 20 points to lead four players in double-figure scoring as the San Antonio Silver Stars handed the Los Angeles Sparks their first defeat at home. 91-71 Sunday night.
The Silver Stars (5-5) led wire to wire and snapped a four-game road losing streak. They won consecutive games for the first time this season and improved to 2-0 against Los Angeles.
The Sparks (10-4) were attempting to start 7-0 at home for the first time since 2006. They had won eight consecutive at home dating to last season.
Young scored 13 points in the second half. She made jumpers to give San Antonio leads of 76-60 and 80-64. Shameka Christon matched a season high with 16 points. Danielle Robinson added 14 points and Becky Hammon 12 points and 10 assists.
The Silver Stars came out with energy and withstood a brief run when the Sparks closed to 47-44 early in the second half on a breakaway basket by Alana Beard. San Antonio led by double digits from 64-54 on.
Young, coming off 2-for-11 shooting in the previous game, made 7 of her 11 field goal attempts.
"L.A's a great team," Young said. "(But) our focus and mentality was to be aggressive from the start. I thought we competed. I thought we were physical."
Candace Parker returned for the Sparks after she sat out Saturday with a sore knee, but was held to five points and four rebounds in the second half. She finished with 15 points on 6 of 17 from the field, and 15 rebounds.
The Sparks, the second-best free throw shooting team in the WNBA, made only 8 of 18 attempts. They also allowed San Antonio to shoot 48.6 percent from the field and make eight 3-pointers, four by Christon.
First-year Sparks coach Carol Ross has made defense a priority and she was disappointed with the energy level, although Los Angeles was playing the second of back-to-back games.
"If you can't sustain defensive energy, it's hard," Ross said. "It was a combination of anemic offense and unenergized defense.
"Clearly San Antonio was very good right out of the gate and they took the game over early. We were not ready for whatever reason. That's my responsibility."
San Antonio coach Dan Hughes said his team is more rested than the Sparks. The teams will meet again Thursday and the schedule picks up for the Silver Stars, who will play five games in the first eight days of July. But Hughes likes the progress he sees.
"I think we're a team that is coming together in different ways," Hughes said. "We're a team that relies on our bench, so I think it takes us longer to get into a groove. We've been on the road a bit, and this Western Conference is extremely challenging."
San Antonio induced L.A. into six fouls in the third quarter as Young led a balanced attack with seven points and four rebounds. Hammon made a 3-pointer to beat the 24-second clock to cap a 7-0 run for a 54-44 lead.
Los Angeles couldn't respond after that and watched San Antonio score the most points against them this season. The Sparks entered Sunday allowing only 70.6 points per game at home.
"They probably came in here with extra motivation," DeLisha Milton-Jones said. "Maybe they wanted to take that away from us. . This game is not going to break us. We're going to use this and grow on many different levels."
Milton-Jones scored 13 points but sat out a long stretch of the second half with foul trouble. April Sykes scored 11 points in a reserve role.
The Silver Stars took a 42-36 lead into halftime after they weathered a 12-3 run by the Sparks late in the second quarter.
Christon scored 11 points in the first half, including three 3-pointers in the first quarter, before she sat out the entire second quarter.
Updated June 24, 2012