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Sparks stay in hunt for playoff spot with victory over Comets

Associated Press

Lisa Leslie had 19 points and 14 rebounds and Chamique Holdsclaw added 11 points as the Los Angeles Sparks beat the Houston Comets 55-50 Sunday in Los Angeles.

It was the Sparks’ third consecutive win over the Comets this season and kept them a game behind fourth-place Phoenix for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

The Comets fell a half-game behind Seattle for the No. 2 seed.

Sheryl Swoopes scored 18 points to lead Houston, and Janeth Arcain added 10.

The Comets trailed 47-36 with 6:50 left before going on a 9-0 run to come within two with 2:10 left.

The Sparks later led by five before Edwidge Lawson hit a 3-pointer to bring the Comets back within two, 52-50, with 8.1 seconds left.

On the Sparks’ next possession, the Comets’ Dawn Staley was called for an intentional foul, meaning the Sparks would shoot a free throw and retain possession.

Holdsclaw hit the lone free-throw attempt, and Tamika Whitmore added two more with four seconds left for the final margin.

Mercury 83, Lynx 69: At Phoenix, Diana Taurasi had 17 points and five rebounds and Anna Deforge added 16 points, leading the Mercury to a victory over the Minnesota Lynx.

Reserve Sandora Irvin had 13 points and six rebounds for the Mercury and Kamila Vodichkova contributed 11 points and five rebounds.

It was the third consecutive double-digit game for Taurasi, who shot 6 of 11 from the field and 5 of 6 from the line.

Svetlana Abrosimova and Nicole Ohlde had 14 points each for the Lynx.

Shock 66, Mystics 52: At Auburn Hills, Mich., Deanna Nolan had 18 points to lead Detroit to a victory over Washington to stay in contention for the fourth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot.

The Shock lead the Mystics by one game with three games left in the regular season.

Swin Cash had 12 points for the Shock, who ended a two-game losing streak with their sixth straight home win. Cheryl Ford had 10 points and 11 rebounds for Detroit and Katie Smith added 10 points.

Alana Beard led Washington, losers of five straight, with 20 points, on 7-of-13 shooting from the floor.

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