Candace Parker had 17 points and five rebounds to lead the Sparks to a 71-66 victory over the defending champion Seattle Storm in their first exhibition game of the season Wednesday at Cal State Dominguez Hills.
The Sparks led by as many as 18-points before the Storm went on a 12-2 run in the third quarter and a 9-0 run to open the fourth. The Storm took its first lead of the second half at 57-56 when Belinda Snell converted a four-point play after being fouled while shooting a three-pointer with 6:52 remaining.
Natasha Lacy, a guard who played in 16 games last season for the Tulsa Shock, scored five of her nine points in the final minutes to give the Sparks momentum as they went on an 8-2 run for the win.
"Natasha Lacy won a position," said Sparks Coach Jennifer Gillom.
The Storm didn't play potential starters Sue Bird
, Lauren Jackson
or Katie Smith
. The Sparks were playing without the league's all-time leading scorer, Tina Thompson
, who has a strained back.
In other news, the Sparks announced Wednesday that guard Loree Moore has decided to leave the team "due to medical reasons." Moore played for the New York Liberty the past five seasons, averaging six points and 3.5 rebounds.
The Sparks still have two cuts to make by June 2. Earlier this week, they released forward Chanel Mokango, who averaged 3.4 minutes and 0.4 points last season for the team.
The Sparks' final exhibition game is on Saturday against the Phoenix Mercury at University Arena in Albuquerque. Their home opener is on June 3 against No. 1 draft pick Maya Moore and the Minnesota Lynx.
-- Melissa Rohlin
Photo: Candace Parker is introduced prior to Wednesday's exhibition game against Seattle at Cal State Dominguez Hills. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times