Leslie, Sparks Hold Off Seattle, 71-70

From the Associated Press

Lisa Leslie stood between Seattle’s Betty Lennox and the lane with the Sparks leading the Storm by three points in the final seconds. So when Lennox opted not to pass and instead drove in for a shot, Leslie was more than willing to let her have the basket.

“I was like, ‘Oh, you can have two,’ ” Leslie said. “I thought she was going to make that pass, but she didn’t. It was clearly a mistake on her part.”

Leslie’s 31 points led the Sparks over the Storm, 71-70, Sunday at Key Arena for their 10th victory in their last 11 games. It kept the Western Conference-leading Sparks (23-6) one game ahead of Connecticut (21-6) for the WNBA’s best record. Leslie made 14 of 24 shots, Chamique Holdsclaw added 10 points and Temeka Johnson had eight assists for the Sparks.

Lauren Jackson led Seattle (14-14) with 27 points, eight rebounds and five blocks. It was the Storm’s fourth consecutive loss at home, the first time that has happened since 2001.


“As I told the players after the All-Star break, every road game was going to be like a playoff game with that type of atmosphere,” Sparks Coach Joe Bryant said.

The Sparks played without starter Mwadi Mabika -- who was serving a one-game suspension for hitting San Antonio forward Kendra Wecker in the head during Wednesday’s game.