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Sparks shocked: Detroit ties series

Los Angeles center Jennifer Gillom (22) fouls Detroit Shock center Ruth Riley during Sunday's WNBA Finals game.
Los Angeles center Jennifer Gillom (22) fouls Detroit Shock center Ruth Riley during Sunday's WNBA Finals game.
Carlos Osorio, Associated Press

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Deanna Nolan's two free throws with 12.1 seconds left gave the Detroit Shock a 62-61 win over the Los Angeles Sparks on Sunday and forced a decisive Game 3 in the WNBA Finals.

The two-time defending champion Sparks led by four points with 1:28 left, after trailing by 19 late in the first half. But they couldn't make the shots or stops needed to win.

Kedra Holland-Corn's 3-pointer pulled Detroit within one, and Nolan's free throws gave Detroit the lead for good. The Sparks were unable to get off a clean shot in the final seconds.

The best-of-three series will conclude Tuesday at The Palace, which drew a crowd of 17,846 for Game 2.

Holland-Corn, a reserve, scored 16. Nolan added 14 points.

Lisa Leslie scored 16 of her 18 points during Los Angeles' second-half comeback. DeLisha Milton also scored 18.

After Detroit built its huge first-half lead, Leslie played like she wasn't interested in staying in suburban Detroit for another two days.

Leslie, who missed her first six shots, scored eight points during a 18-5 run to cut Los Angeles' deficit to 50-48 midway through the second half.

Holland-Corn scored five points in less than a minute to put the Shock ahead 57-50, but Leslie didn't let them enjoy the lead.

Leslie's three-point play and layup tied it at 57 with 3:15 to go. Mwadi Mabika's two free throws put Los Angeles ahead for the first time since it was up 4-2. Leslie's hook gave the Sparks a 61-57 lead and forced Detroit to call a timeout with 1:25 left.

Corn then made a 3-pointer from the right wing, and on Detroit's next possession, Leslie fouled Nolan from behind to set up her decisive free throws.

Detroit overcame a disparity at the free throw line. The Sparks made 13 of 16 free throws and the Shock were 4-of-5.

The Shock, who never led during Game 1 in Los Angeles, scored 11 unanswered points to take a 24-9 lead midway through the first half and were ahead 38-22 at halftime.