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Candace Parker helps Sparks keep their playoff bid alive

Parker finishes with 27 points as Sparks prevent Seattle from clinching a playoff spot.

August 30, 2011|Wire reports
  • Sparks forward Candace Parker drives past Seattle's Ashley Robinson, left, and Tanisha Wright during the second half of the Sparks' 68-62 victory Tuesday.
Sparks forward Candace Parker drives past Seattle's Ashley Robinson,… (Jae C. Hong / Associated…)

Candace Parker scored a season-high 27 points and the Sparks defeated Seattle, 68-62, Tuesday night at Staples Center, denying the Storm a chance to clinch a playoff berth.

Parker scored 10 points in the fourth quarter, including three free throws in the final minute to secure the win.

Tina Thompson had 12 points and Ebony Hoffman scored 11 to help the fifth-place Sparks (13-17) remain 11/2 games behind San Antonio for the final playoff spot in the West.

The Sparks have four games remaining, three at home, including a showdown next Tuesday against San Antonio at Staples Center.

"They're confident," Sparks Coach Joe Bryant said of his players. "We'll never give up."

Sue Bird led the Storm (17-13) with 15 points.

The Sparks trailed, 15-11, with 21/2 minutes left in the first quarter before going on a 15-3 run that spilled over into the second quarter. Parker, who had been quiet for much of the first quarter, scored nine of her 12 first-half points during the run.

Hoffman's jumper put the Sparks ahead, 65-57, with 2:12 remaining. Bird answered with a three-pointer, but Seattle's Lauren Jackson missed a three-point attempt and Swin Cash missed a jumper. Parker made one of two free throws for a 66-60 lead before adding two more.

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