SAN ANTONIO (AP) Coming off a disheartening loss at home the previous night, the San Antonio Stars focused on the basics and had their highest scoring output in nearly three years.
Danielle Robinson scored a season-high 24 points and San Antonio rolled to a 101-74 victory over the Los Angeles Sparks on Saturday night, snapping a three-game home skid.
A return to simplicity was needed following a 79-72 loss to Seattle on Friday night, which prompted a team meeting after the game.
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”Just getting on the same page,” Robinson said of the meeting. ”We are all playing for each other. There’s no drama or anything, we just wanted to clear some things up.”
On the eve of Game 5 of the NBA Finals at the AT&T Center, the Stars used some of the same ball movement, 3-point shooting and bench depth that has the Spurs on the verge of a fifth NBA title.
”When we reviewed the tape upteen times last night, we were spotty (on ball movement),” Stars coach Dan Hughes said. ”We had ball movement and other parts we didn’t. If we are going to be a good basketball team, we’ve got to have it the entire game. We had it the entire game and you see the effect of that.”
Kayla McBride scored 20 points, Jia Perkins added 16 and Becky Hammon and Shameka Christon had 10 each for San Antonio (5-6). It was Hammon’s second game in double figures this season after missing all but 12 minutes last season following a torn left ACL.
Candace Parker had 16 points, Jantel Lavender scored 15 and Lindsey Harding added 12 for Los Angeles (3-6), which has lost three straight.
The Stars were 9 for 15 on 3-pointers and 24 for 24 on free throws to finish with their most points since a 102-94 victory over Tulsa on Sept. 11, 2011.
”They hit 3s and we didn’t run them off the 3-point line,” Parker said. ”They need 3s to thrive and we did a poor job of taking that away.”
The Sparks were credited with three blocked shots in the first half, but appeared to tip a couple more and altered many others. Parker took advantage of the mismatches created by the defensive switches on pick-and-rolls in going 7 for 11 from the field.
San Antonio turned to its perimeter game and quickness to overcome the disadvantage in the post.
”We got a lot more simpler,” Hughes said. ”We went back to basics. Let’s do this and let’s do this well and they responded well. I made it more about execution than about trying to analyze the strength and weaknesses of our opponent.”
Five players scored as San Antonio went on a 13-6 run midway through the second quarter.
The run culminated with Robinson tipping away an attempted lob into the paint, triggering a fast break that led to Perkins’ layup and a 43-40 lead with 2:34 remaining in the half.
After being held to eight points on 3-for-9 shooting in an 83-62 loss at Los Angeles, Robinson shot 10 for 14 on Saturday.
”I wanted to come out and be aggressive tonight,” Robinson said. ”I know the team plays much better when I come out aggressive and just confident. I did that tonight, whether it was hitting shots or getting in the lane and kicking to my teammates for them to shoot the ball. I knew I had to be aggressive.”
San Antonio shot 63 percent in the second half, with McBride and Hammon hitting consecutive 3s and Robinson pulling up for a 13-foot jumper on a fast break for a 68-52 lead with 4:53 left in the third quarter.
”We played a terrible third and fourth quarter and they shot the lights out,” Los Angeles coach Carol Ross said. ”It’s an embarrassing loss.”
McBride finished 6 for 8, including 4 for 4 on 3-pointers, after a combined 5-for-27 shooting overall in her previous two games.
After missing a 13-foot jumper on her opening attempt, McBride made a 3 that lifted the rookie’s spirits.
”Aw, thank goodness,” McBride said. ”I was like, `Ah, finally.’ I had been missing so many shots. I worked so hard to get them, so I’m finally hitting them. I just want to do it for my team, I want us to win. I felt like yesterday I wasn’t at my best, so today I wanted to be a lot better.”