Sparks' Lisa Leslie didn't anticipate surpassing 6,000 career points in WNBA
It meant she was on the verge of surpassing 6,000 career points during her 13 seasons with the WNBA. Instead of taking time to connect the dots, however, Leslie turned around and released a 12-foot jumper as the shot clock expired with 11.9 seconds left in the second quarter. Then she realized that wasn't just a jump shot that gave the Sparks a 37-20 lead.
"I had no idea," she said following the Sparks' 75-63 victory over the Indiana Fever. "That’s a good thing or else I probably wouldn’t have made the basket."
Instead, Leslie earned what Sparks Coach Michael Cooper called "another accolade to her legacy" and what Sparks guard Kristi Harrower described as an "amazing achievement." As for Leslie? She waxed poetic, but more about how she expects the record to be broken.
"I have no idea what that means," Leslie said. "I don’t know if I did it fast enough or not. It took me a lot of years to get there. Honestly, when you’re the first there’s no measuring stick other than people who pass it and if they do it faster. I just feel honored to be a part of this league from day one and to set all these different records. To be the first, at least I’ll always be in the pages. As these younger players come behind me and do it faster and even more beautifully, I’m just happy to be a part of it."
Leslie, the league's all-time leading scorer, currently has 6,010 points. Leslie's claim that she's the beneficiary of playing since the WNBA's inception is undercut when you see she's seventh in all-time points per game (17.3).
Nonetheless, the fact that Leslie is one of four remaining players (including Sparks forward Tina Thompson) since the league's beginning makes the milestone more memorable to some players, such as guard Noelle Quinn.
"I was growing up watching her," she said. "It's just an amazing feeling to share the same court with somebody who's done so much for the game."
And the latest achievement brought to light Leslie's certain aloofness. But that may be a good thing.
"I’m so in the zone; I have no idea what’s going on," she said. "I’m just out here trying to play hard and get us some wins. That’s my focus."
-- Mark Medina
Photo: Lisa Leslie holds her daughter, Lauren Jolie Lockwood, after a game against the Indiana Fever last night. Photo credit: Jae C. Hong / Associated Press.