Leslie back from injury, but Sparks fall to Silver Stars

LOS ANGELES -- Lisa Leslie played her first game in seven weeks because of injuries, yet her presence wasn't enough to lift the Los Angeles Sparks.

Becky Hammon scored 20 points to rally the San Antonio Silver Stars past the Sparks 63-59 on Tuesday.

Sophia Young added 12 points and nine rebounds, and Hammon added five assists for the Silver Stars (9-10), who ended a two-game losing streak.

Leslie played her first game since June 19, scoring 13 points along with Noelle Quinn. Candace Parker and DeLisha Milton-Jones added 11 points apiece for the Sparks (6-11), who have lost five of their past seven.

Leslie played 24 minutes in her debut since suffering a sprained right knee and bruised right hip in a game against Phoenix.

"I got really fatigued the last two minutes of the game," Leslie said. "But that's when I was saying to myself, 'You've just got to keep fighting and have the heart of a champion.'"

Tina Thompson grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds for the Sparks.

"I feel like we're really close to getting over that hump," said Leslie, who is playing in her final WNBA season. "I'm anxious for us to just put it all together. I know we have the best rebounders in the world. We just have to commit to going to the boards every time."

The Sparks held a 57-53 lead with 2:23 to play, but the Silver Stars used a 8-0 spree to move ahead.

Ruth Riley broke a 57-all tie on a putback with 46.6 seconds left. After the Sparks' Kristi Harrower and Thompson each missed a shot, Hammon made two free throws for a 61-57 lead with 13.7 seconds left.

"Defensively, there weren't any key breakdowns late," San Antonio coach Dan Hughes said. "We were staying with plays and battling in the right spots. We made them shoot over the top and then rebounded enough that we could control tempo."