Parker reaches 5,500 career points in Sparks’ win

BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) — Candace Parker had 16 points, 12 rebounds and four assists to help the Los Angeles Sparks beat the Phoenix Mercury 83-74 on Wednesday night for their fifth consecutive win.

Los Angeles was ahead 64-49 early in the fourth quarter until Diana Taurasi got Phoenix back in it by hitting four 3-pointers in a three-minute span. The Mercury were within 73-71 with 4:55 remaining but didn’t score again until Taurasi’s free throw at 1:12. Chelsea Gray gave Los Angeles a nine-point lead with two free throws at 52.9.

Gray and Brittney Sykes also scored 16 points for Los Angeles (8-3). Gray had six rebounds and six assists and Parker made 8 of 10 free throws as she reached 5,500 career points.

Parker scored 11 points in the first quarter as Los Angeles raced to a 24-10 lead.

Taurasi finished with 19 points for Phoenix (6-6). Brittney Griner added 13 points.

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