Archive for Sunday, September 2, 2001

Sparks spank Sting for title

Los Angeles clinches WNBA crown with 82-54 triumph

September 2, 2001


— Reeking of champagne, Lisa Leslie, DeLisha Milton and Nicky McCrimmon rapped out a rhyme as Mwadi Mabika pounded out a beat against the wall in celebration of the Los Angeles Sparks' WNBA championship.

"OK, that's enough," Leslie said, signaling that she was eager to talk about the Sparks' 82-54 victory over the Charlotte Sting on Saturday.

"This is a dream come true," said Leslie, who grew up in nearby Inglewood and played collegiately at Southern California.

"We learned so much from having the good record, but just not getting over that hump. This year we were just mentally tough, focused and we had a great team effort," she said.

Leslie had 24 points, 13 rebounds, six assists and a title game-record seven blocked shots to help the Sparks sweep the series in two games, giving the 5-year-old league its first champion other than the Houston Comets, who were swept by the Sparks in the first round.

The Sparks finished with a 34-5 record, including a 19-1 mark in their first season at Staples Center.

Leslie recorded her sixth double-double in seven playoff games. She won a unanimous vote for most valuable player of the finals, being named on all 15 ballots counted, to go with her MVP awards from the regular season and All-Star game. She is the first WNBA player to sweep the trophies.

"Lisa is our rock," said guard Tamecka Dixon, who along with Leslie and Mabika are only holdovers from when the Sparks were formed in 1997. "She's our foundation and it's our job to go out there and support her."

Milton added 15 points and Dixon, a Kansas University product who shook off a right heel injury she aggravated in Game 1 on Thursday, had 13 points.

Box score on page 12C.

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