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Parker, Sparks light up Lynx for 22-point win

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Candace Parker and the Los Angeles Sparks topped the first place Minnesota Lynx on Monday, and held reigning league MVP Maya Moore scoreless in the second half.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

WNBA All-Star Maya Moore entered the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Tuesday looking to just inch closer to history.

The forward has accumulated a stretch of 11 straight games with 20 or more points, just two shy of Diana Taurasi's league record of 13 games, which she set in the 2006-2007 season.

She was, however, stopped dead in her tracks.

Moore and the Minnesota Lynx (15-5) found themselves baffled by Candace Parker and the Los Angeles Sparks (6-14), losing 83-61.

"It feels great," Parker said. "Obviously, we knew this was a big game for us playing against Minnesota, the best team in the league. I think we came out and played aggressive, especially in the second half."

The game started out slow, with just a three-point difference between the two western conference teams after the first quarter. However, with 2:40 left in the second quarter, the Sparks found themselves up by nine points, the largest lead of the game.

It did not last long, though. Minnesota quickly fought back into the game, bringing the Sparks' lead to just four at halftime.

Parker, who nearly had a double-double in the first half alone, headed into the locker room with 10 points and seven rebounds. The forward, who was a major part of the team's second-quarter run, still wasn't satisfied with her performance.

Parker's dissatisfaction with the team's play in the first half must have rubbed off to the rest of the team. Coming out of the break, the Sparks went on a massive 17-5 run. The Sparks never let up, outscoring the Lynx by 13 points in the fourth quarter, and rendering Moore scoreless in the second half. The run, and the ability to shut down the reigning WNBA MVP, were enough to give the Sparks their sixth win of the season.

"When  we  move  the  basketball, we can be really good offensively," said Sparks coach Brian Agler. "Sometimes we get stagnant. Sometimes everyone wants to be on the perimeter, and no one wants to be inside. We have got to have a good balance of both. We just want ball movement. We got to get the ball to the right people, but we want to play both sides of the floor and we want to play inside out."

Parker led the Sparks with 18 points and 13 rebounds. Center Jantel Lavender also had a double-double for the Sparks, finishing the game with 14 points and 13 rebounds. Nneka Ogwumike and Alana Beard also finished with double figures, scoring 13 points and 10 points, respectively.

"Candace  [Parker]  is  extremely  talented," Agler said. "She  can  distribute  just  as  much  as  she  can  score.    When  the  ball  is  in  her  hands,  she  sees  the  floor  well.  She'll  move  the  basketball  along  and  move  herself  being  aggressive  that  way.    She  can  really  help  our  offense  run  and  she  did  a  really  good  job  of  that.  She  is  doing  a  good  job  for  us  in  that  capacity."

Moore was held to just 13 total points for the Lynx on Tuesday, 11 of which came in the first quarter alone. Her and guard Lindsay Whalen, who also finished the game with 13 points, were the only two Lynx players to score in double figures.

"We didn't have a lot of good flow that we usually play with," Moore said. "We turned the ball over, and sparked their transition, and settled early for some quick shots. It was just a struggle to get into our offense. We weren't able to get some of our passes. The little things costed us."

The Sparks are back in action again on Thursday, when they host the Tulsa Shock. Minnesota will wait to take the court again until Friday, when they travel to take on the Phoenix Mercury.