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Sparks sweep into championship series

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published August 25, 2002

LOS ANGELES -- The Sparks were so dominating, they needed just one half to put the game away.

LOS ANGELES -- The Sparks were so dominating, they needed just one half to put the game away.

Lisa Leslie scored 25 and the Sparks overpowered Utah 103-77 Saturday to sweep the best-of-three Western Conference final and advance to the WNBA championship.

"We ran into a team that is clicking on all cylinders and just shooting the ball as well as just about any team I've ever seen," Utah coach Candi Harvey said.

The Sparks' points were a WNBA playoff record, topping the 101 they scored against Phoenix in the first round on Aug. 13, 2000.

The Sparks led by 15 at halftime and by as much as 30 in the second half. DeLisha Milton scored 19. Defense of their league title begins Thursday.

NEW YORK 96, WASHINGTON 79: The Liberty shot 71 percent in the first half and contained the league's leading scorer, Chamique Holdsclaw, as it won before a crowd of 13,851 at Madison Square Garden. The Liberty returns to the Garden today for a deciding Game 3 in the Eastern Conference final, hoping to advance to its fourth WNBA title series in the league's six-year history. New York limited Holdsclaw to a quiet 14 points and two rebounds, and she sat out the final seven minutes. She averaged 20 points and 11 rebounds in the regular season.

In NBA news ...

MIAMI -- Heat center Alonzo Mourning has been receiving treatment for anemia, which he says was caused by his kidney disease.

Still, Mourning, 32, has said several times he intends to play this season and beyond.

"The kidney disorder triggered other abnormalities in my body, like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and now anemia," Mourning said in Saturday's Washington Post. "I started feeling very fatigued, very lethargic. My minutes dropped off because I was having problems getting up and down the court. ... By the time I practiced or played a game, I had nothing left in the tank. I had nothing left for my family by the time I got home. It just wasn't worth it. If I had to live like that, I would have had to back away from the game."

Mourning averaged 32.7 minutes last season; his career average is 35.0. In November, his average was 29.9 minutes but increased to 32.9 in December and remained more than 32 minutes. With a career scoring average of 20.3 points, Mourning averaged 15.7 last season.

PISTONS INTERNATIONAL TOURNAMENT: Mehmet Okur scored 33 as Turkey beat the United States 75-72 in Auburn Hills, Mich. While Turkey is preparing for the World Championships that begin Thursday in Indianapolis, Junior Burrough scored 20 and Greg Stempin had 19 points and 10 rebounds for the U.S. team, free agents who will not compete.

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