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Silver Stars roll, continue dominance of Sparks

SAN ANTONIO -- Sophia Young scored 23 points to lead the San Antonio Silver Stars to a 94-80 victory over the Los Angeles Sparks on Thursday.

Becky Hammon had 17 points, Shameka Christon added 14, Danielle Adams 14 and Jia Perkins 12 as San Antonio (6-5) beat Los Angeles for the third time in three meetings this season.

"On paper, we probably don't look like a good matchup for them," Hammon said. "And I think that's generally what people think. But you got to go out there and play the game. I think we have a really focused approach with them."

Candace Parker scored 25 points on 10 of 17 shooting to lead the Sparks (10-6), who have lost three straight. Alana Beard and DeLisha Milton-Jones added 14 points each.

Four days after handing Los Angeles its first home loss of the season in a 91-71 rout, San Antonio got off to another fast start against its Western Conference rival.

The Sparks missed seven of their first eight shots, including three on their second possession of the game.

"We have to do things differently," Parker said of the slow start. "Whether we have to do something before the game or warm up differently or something like that."

The Silver Stars took advantage, taking a 14-4 lead on Young's two free throws about midway through the first quarter.

They led 57-37 at halftime with their highest-scoring first half of the season and finished four points short of their franchise record for a game.

"It was a loud building," San Antonio coach Dan Hughes said. "There hasn't been too many times where my players couldn't hear me in a timeout. That's a great problem to have."

San Antonio built its double-digit lead while Hammon struggled with her shots. She didn't make her first basket until there was less than 5 minutes left in the first half. After missing her first five field goals, Hammon made three consecutive 3-pointers to close the half.

"As far as anyone struggling early on, it does not matter because we have so many weapons that we can go to," Christon said. "And the other person, whoever is struggling, they'll come along. The team does a great job of picking that person up and bringing them along."

Christon made her first three shots for the third straight game and her 3 gave the Silver Stars a 43-26 lead with 3:47 to go in the first half.

The game got heated in the second half as the Silver Stars became more physical in respond to the Sparks' defensive intensity. Los Angeles coach Carol Ross was assessed a technical foul after arguing a foul should have been called on a jump ball for Parker.

Christon had another 3 to start a 9-0 run to open the second half as San Antonio increased its lead to 66-37 with 7:16 to go in the third quarter.

Beard had five points and Parker four in Los Angeles' 10-0 spurt that cut the deficit to 68-49 nearly 5 minutes later. However the Sparks got no closer than 14 points the rest of the way.

San Antonio's bench was largely responsible for maintaining the advantage, outscoring Los Angeles' reserves 33-17.

"I think our bench is fantastic," Young said. "Jia Perkins, especially. She definitely gives us a spark, she's energetic and a great teammate. She definitely brings a lot of offense and Danielle Adams can shoot the 3 so it spreads us out a little bit."