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L.A. overcomes Miracle defense

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Sparks 78, Miracle 63

INGLEWOOD, Calif. — The Los Angeles Sparks just needed some time to figure out how to attack the Orlando Miracle.

The Sparks struggled early with Orlando's triangle-and-two defense, and trailed by as many as eight points in the first half Tuesday night. But Lisa Leslie scored 17 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as Los Angeles regrouped for a 78-63 victory.

"I thought we did a really good job adjusting to their defense," Leslie said. "They really tried to force us not to get the ball inside. At first, we started out slow, because we had to adjust to it, but I thought our guards did a good job in knocking down some jumpers, and it really opened it up for the second half."

The first-place Sparks (22-3) won for the 18th time in 19 games to maintain their half-game lead in the WNBA's Western Conference over three-time defending champion Houston.

COMETS 79, STORM 53: The Houston Comets must not like second place. After a 2-2 road trip knocked the three-time defending WNBA champions out of the top spot in the Western Conference, Houston looked like its old self Tuesday night in beating Seattle at home. Cynthia Cooper scored a season-high 28 points as the Comets improved to 22-4.