LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Lisa Leslie led the Los Angeles Sparks to
their most one-sided victory in five years.
Leslie had 23 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks in the Sparks'
82-51 victory Monday night over the Indiana Fever.
Los Angeles came within a point of tying the club record for the
largest victory margin. The Sparks defeated the now-defunct Utah
Starzz by 32 points in 1999.
The game was the Sparks' third without starting forward DeLisha
Milton-Jones, who will undergo knee surgery Tuesday. Injured July
9, she is expected to miss the Olympics and the rest of the WNBA
"Without her out there, we've definitely got to keep getting
the ball inside," said Leslie, 10-for-17 from the floor. "It's
forced me to go to that next level sooner than I had planned.
"Earlier in the season, I was just trying to be patient and
really help my teammates to get more involved. The last two games,
I'm being more offensive-minded. Sometimes, I have to force it
between the double-teams."
The Sparks (15-7) used their seventh victory in eight games to
extend their lead over second-place Seattle in the Western
Conference to one game.
The victory was the first for Los Angeles interim co-coaches
Karleen Thompson and Ryan Weisenberg, who replaced Michael Cooper
on Saturday night. Cooper resigned to become an assistant with the
NBA's Denver Nuggets.
Mwadi Mabika added 18 points and Christi Thomas had 11 points
and eight rebounds for the Sparks, who shot a season-high 53.1
Tamika Catchings, the WNBA's fourth-leading scorer, had just
nine points for the Fever (12-10). Catchings was 1-for-9 from the
floor as Indiana shot 27.6 percent.
The Fever's lead in the tight Eastern Conference dwindled to a
half-game over Charlotte and one game over Connecticut.
"We laid an egg, so to speak," Indiana coach Brian Winters
said. "We didn't play particularly well offensively. We looked a
little sluggish in inbounding the ball, different things like
Los Angeles used a 17-2 surge to build a 27-8 lead with nine
minutes left in the first half. Mabika scored nine points during
the run as the Sparks made 11 of their first 15 shots in the first
Los Angeles made its first six shots in the second half to
extend its lead to 54-29. The Sparks led by as many as 33 points
late in the game.