SEATTLE (AP) -Lauren Jackson had 17 points and nine rebounds, Sue Bird added 15 points and the Seattle Storm defeated the Los Angeles Sparks 82-60 on Friday night.
The Storm (9-1) opened the game on a 10-2 run. After a 3-pointer from DeLisha Milton-Jones pulled the Sparks (2-7) within three, the Storm answered with a 10-0 run capped by a 3-pointer from Bird to give Seattle a 20-7 lead.
Seattle pressured the Sparks into several turnovers early. Camille Little had three of the Storm's five first-quarter steals that helped Seattle get its offense rolling. The Storm forced 19 turnovers and had 13 steals for the game.
``We were able to knock the ball loose, cause turnovers and capitalize on that,' Bird said. ``Camille tonight did a tremendous job. She really set the tone for us.'
Candace Parker was held in check because of her injured left shoulder and the defense of Jackson. Parker went to the locker room with 1:27 left in the first quarter. She returned to the court in the second quarter but couldn't get going offensively, being limited to just five points before the half.
``I think Lauren does a really good job on Parker compared to every one else across the league,' Storm coach Brian Agler said.
``She doesn't get multiple looks, she doesn't get second shots when Lauren's in the game. She doesn't get open looks. She can't back people down and score. That's not taking nothing away from her. She's a great, great player, but Lauren's a special defender.'
Despite the injury, Parker was the only consistent offensive presence for the Sparks. She finished with 13 points and seven rebounds to lead the way for Los Angeles.
``It's OK,' Parker said of the shoulder after the game.
The Storm led 42-29 at the half before the Sparks started to pick away at the lead. Tina Thompson converted a 3-point play and Marie Ferdinand-Harris hit a jumper early in the third quarter to narrow the deficit to 48-37.
That was as close as the Sparks would get as the Storm quickly answered with an 8-2 run to take control of the game. Seattle opened the fourth quarter with a 9-2 run to put away Los Angeles for good.
``I really believe that Seattle has the best team in the league right now,' Sparks coach Jennifer Gillom said. ``They are unbelievable. They get scoring from everybody, great defensive pressure from everybody. They're physical and they do everything right.'
Milton-Jones became frustrated after dealing with Jackson for most of the game and picked up a technical midway though the fourth quarter.
``We knew they were going to make a run,' Jackson said. ``We withstood it and got through it and ultimately DeLisha ended up getting a (technical) and that was it.'
Little scored 13 points and Swin Cash added 11 points and six rebounds for Seattle.
Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton and Thompson each finished with 10 points for the Sparks.
The Associated Press News Service
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