Backup center Nina Bjedov scored the go-ahead basket with 1 minute 24 seconds to play as the Los Angeles Sparks overcame a 12-point, second-half deficit to beat the Cleveland Rockers, 74-72, last night in Inglewood, Calif.
Bjedov's 18-foot jumper put the Sparks ahead 73-72. Cleveland, which failed to score from the field in the final 4:40, squandered a chance to regain the lead when Alisa Burras missed a layup with 13 seconds left. Los Angeles iced the win as Lisa Leslie hit two free throws with 10.9 seconds to go.
Sparks guard Gordana Grubin pulled down a defensive rebound and held the ball as time expired.
Bjedov scored 12 of her team-high 14 points in the second half, including two three-pointers, as the Sparks (8-4) set a franchise record with their fifth consecutive win.
Eva Nemcova had 20 points, and Burras scored 16 for Cleveland (2-10). The Rockers fell to 0-6 on the road.
After trailing, 42-34, at halftime and 58-46 with 11:05 to play, the Sparks pulled into a 60-60 tie with 7:48 left as Grubin and Bjedov each hit three-point baskets and Leslie had four points during a 14-2 run.
Cleveland's Janice Braxton had five points and Merlakia Jones four points during a 9-2 spurt that put Cleveland up, 69-62, with 4:41 left. Los Angeles responded with a trio of three-pointers, the first by Bjedov and two more by Mwadi Mabika, who had missed seven of her first eight shots.
The announced crowd at the Forum was 5,947.
LIBERTY 76, MONARCHS 63: Vickie Johnson scored 20 points as New York won its fifth straight home game.
Kym Hampton had 17 points for the Liberty (7-3), which went on a 9-0 run to end the game and extended its Eastern Conference lead to 1 1/2 games over Orlando.
New York shot 48 percent, rebounding from a league-low 22 percent in a 15-point loss to Houston Saturday. The Liberty was held to a WNBA-low 14 field goals against the Comets.
"It was a tough and embarrassing loss on national television," said the Liberty's Sue Wicks, who had seven points, nine rebounds and a career-high five blocks last night. "But we were able to refocus. We knew we couldn't shoot like that ever again."
Johnson, who scored 14 points in the second half, scored two baskets in the final run. After Yolanda Griffith's basket brought Sacramento to 67-63 with 2:45 left in the game, the Monarchs did not score again.
"Our defense down the stretch was excellent," New York Coach Richie Adubato said. "Griffith is a terrific player, and I think everyone got to see why she was considered the best player in the ABL."
Hampton added four free throws during the run, and Wicks added a free throw.
Griffith led the Monarchs (8-4) with 23 points on 9-of-14 shooting. Kendra Holland-Corn added 12 points, and LaTasha Byears and Ruthie Bolton-Holifield had 11 points each.
"We'll just have to go home and recuperate and get ready for Houston on Thursday," said Bolton-Holifield, whose team ended its road trip 3-1.