Sparks' Lisa Leslie among leading vote getters for WNBA All-Star game
Forget that Sparks center Lisa Leslie has missed the last three games because of a right knee sprain. Forget that she will return as early as July 22, three days before the WNBA All-Star game at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut.
Leslie has the top votes for center in the Western Conference (24,305). Although her average of 10.4 points per game in five games ranks 37th overall, she's fifth in the league in rebounding (7.4 per game), is the fourth-leading scorer at center overall and is the top leading scorer at center in the West.
It also doesn't hurt Leslie is the WNBA's all-time leading scorer, a three-time MVP and plans to retire after this season.
Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi leads all players with 32,921 votes. Taurasi is second in scoring (21.2 points per game) behind Seattle Storm forward Lauren Jackson. Jackson, with 18,169 votes, is sandwiched between two other Phoenix players, trailing Mercury guard Cappie Pondexter (26,701 votes) but leading DeWanna Bonner (17,973 votes). Indiana forward Tamika Catchings leads all votes with 32,266.
Sparks forwards Tina Thompson (15,981) and DeLisha Milton-Jones (10,850) are fifth and seventh, respectively, at their position. Although Candace Parker hasn't played a game and may not even return before the All-Star game, she is fifth in guards with 9,579 votes. Last year's WNBA MVP and rookie of the year actually has more votes than Sparks guard Betty Lennox (6,334), who is ninth in guards but is second in team-scoring with 12.3 points per game.
Fan voting runs through July 7 and can be done here and in all WNBA arenas.
-- Mark Medina
Photo: Lisa Leslie, 34, has two WNBA championships, two league MVP awards, three Olympic gold medals and two FIBA world championships. Photo credit: Branimir Kvartuc / Associated Press.