SPARKS IN GAME SHAPE SPARKS 78, PHOENIX 69.Byline: A.J. Perez Staff Writer
LONG BEACH - Playing their first game since winning the 2001 WNBA WNBA Women's National Basketball Association
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WNBA Warszawski Nurt Basketu Amatorskiego title, the Sparks dominated play early in the second half to spur a 78-69 victory over the Phoenix Mercury The Phoenix Mercury is a Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) team based in Phoenix, Arizona and the current WNBA champions. The Mercury began in 1997 as one of the league's original eight teams. The Mercury are named because Mercury is the closest planet to the sun. in an exhibition game in front of 3,447 at the Pyramid.
``Last year I challenged them to become WNBA champions and they did that,'' said coach Michael Cooper
Cooper wasn't happy with his team's intensity Saturday, but the Sparks showed signs of life after halftime. After seven lead changes, a jumper by Tamecka Dixon gave the Sparks the lead for good two minutes into the second half.
Dixon's jumper also ignited a 9-0 run that was capped by a DeLisha Milton layup with 16:14 left to put the Sparks up 49-40. A Lisa Leslie
Leslie, the reigning league MVP (Multimedia Video Processor) A high-speed DSP chip from Texas Instruments, introduced in 1994. Officially introduced as the TMS320C80, it combines RISC technology with the functionality of four DSPs on one chip. , and rookie guard Nikki Teasley Nikki Teasley (born March 22, 1979 in Washington, D.C.) is a basketball player for the Washington Mystics in the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA).
She played college basketball at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. - who was acquired on April 19 via a trade with Portland - each scored 15 points to lead the Sparks' offense. Leslie played 22 of the 40 minutes.
The Mercury was led by 14-point outings by guard Adriana Moises and backup forward Shea Mahoney.
Cooper said he expects to cut the 17-player roster down to 14 as soon as today. He used much of Saturday's game as a final test to determine who will make the team, as all but two players saw playing time.