That was pretty exciting.
Overall, that was an awesome All-Star Game. I don't think we could have asked for a better game to be played here in the nation's Capital. It was very competitive. Obviously, the East is much improved and they did a great job of really fighting hard and executing and playing the game really physical.
I thought they forced the West, for us, to slow down and stop running and really try to execute our offense, and they made us change our style, and therefore, it was a very close game.
Q. Going into this game, there had been so much talk about the new wave of players and the transition going on, but this game was decided by the founders of this League. Was there any old-school pride going on?
Leslie: It's just so funny all of a sudden this year, everybody is calling us "old-school" and veterans, now just because a young class is coming in, we're old? I don't get it. You'd better believe we're going to come with a heart. We worked hard to get here and by no means are any of us done.
I think it's unfair the way you guys have approached myself and Sheryl as of late, even the media, talking about the veterans versus the young players and us being done. Come on. We're just getting started.
Q. This is your third MVP in four All-Star Games, the crowd seemed a little bit disappointed. Do you think they are tired of seeing you win all the time?
Leslie: All I can say is I know what Kobe felt like now, playing in Philadelphia.
I think they were just upset about the East not winning. There were so many players on our team that could have been MVP. Lauren shot the ball well, too. I started rebounding, and that was pretty much the key to getting the MVP award. And we had to play hard. I told them in the second half we had to come out and play serious now, it was 40-40 and I was going to go inside. That made the difference getting us second opportunities on the boards, both offensively and defensively, make the difference in getting the awards.
As far as the crowd, I don't know if it's about me in particular or the West winning. I just chalk it up to that.
Q. How did you feel about Phillips' style of play?
Leslie: It was definitely very physical. Maybe, you know, I don't know, maybe that's just her style and she just plays hard. I have a few scratches over here from her, and I just said, "Hey, calm down, it is an All-Star Game."
But she only knows how to play the Game one way. I just told her at the end, "Hey, I love competing against you," and I'll see her next week. That's the way she plays, All-Star Game or not. They have a lot of pride and she's been on the losing team four times. She wanted to win, too, and I can understand that.
Q. Turning the tables a little bit, you were talking about being disrespected, as being the older group, but you looked out there and you all had the veteran, experienced team. Was there ever a point where you said, "What's this East team even doing hanging around with us" and they took you right to the wire?
Leslie: Definitely not because they had their veterans in also. And secondly, we don't ever underestimate the East. They played very well. They decided they were going to play physical. They were not trying to do any show time moves. They played hard and executed. When they got fast breaks, they selected and finished their shots. We were happy it was a competitive game because we've blown them out so many times, I thought it was great for us, it was great for the fans, and ESPN, as well.
Q. Without Natalie Williams and Yolanda Griffith, did you make it a personal goal to go out and rebound harder knowing you were not going to have the same type of rebounders this year?
Leslie: Definitely, a reporter said to me yesterday, you know, about that particular situation, about us rebounding. I looked and he said, "Did you know you guys only had three post," and I was like, "Wow, we do?" Tina and I like to rebound and Lauren is more of a roamer. I knew I had to get inside. Once we hit 40-40 I was like, I have to get on the boards and stay inside. No more outside shots unless it really presented itself. We were getting beat on the boards, and I'm not used to that.
Q. What do you think was the sweetest move of the game?
Leslie: The sweetest move, honestly when Ticha threw the ball off the backboard, I was wishing I was behind her. Fortunately, they fouled Tina, she didn't make the basket because I thought that was cool off the backboards. You don't ever see that in the women's game. She has definitely helped us take our game to another level.
Q. Still waiting for that dunk?
Leslie: I know you're waiting for the dunk. That East team was tough tonight. They were not giving up any fast breaks. I don't know how many fast break points we had. It was tough.
It's definitely going to be a goal of mine to do it this year in one of our games, and I'll be working hard at that.
Q. Do you ever remember being booed before?
Leslie: Oh, I get booed all the time. Every time we go on the road.
I don't think it's just about me. It's about the Sparks, because we are No. 1 and we come into other teams houses and they don't want to see us. I've experienced that. Never at an All-Star Game, but I tell you what, one time the USA team played Connecticut, we played a lot of college teams and Connecticut was the only university team that actually booed us, and we were representing the USA, so I don't feel that bad.
Q. I know you don't want to talk about the strike, but it's on a lot of people's minds and people are thinking about it. You are pioneers, but at the same time, you do want to get paid. What are your thoughts on that?
Leslie: Well, I feel like, obviously, nobody wants a strike. That's our No. 1 goal, is not to strike. We want to play this game. We have to keep under consideration that we are a very young league. I understand we are not going to get paid the money the men get paid but we do need to continue to have our salaries raised because we work hard. Hopefully we can come to some type of agreement, dealing with all of that contract-wise as well as free agency, and we are working on it.
Q. Is the MVP as sweet as it was the first time?
Leslie: It was really sweet tonight, because I'm telling you, I worked hard out there. This is as hard as I worked in an All-Star Game, ever. It was a tough game. I'm sure the East came out with a lot of pride. You can't help to have them play that type of game, a very physical game. It was just that. It was a very hard-fought game and I'll definitely cherish this. This is cool, though.
Thanks for all of your support and thanks to the media for coming out and supporting us. Here in the nation's capital you guys did a great job. We had a lot of media at our practice and we truly appreciate it. We can't get this league off the grounds and get it to be as successful as we would like without you, so thanks.