2002 Record
25-7, .781
(1st in West)

Points Scored
2452 (1st overall, 1st in West)
Points Allowed
2235 (11th overall, 5th in West)
Scoring Differential
+6.8 (1st overall, 1st in West)

Offensive Efficiency
103.1 (2nd overall, 1st in West)
Defensive Efficiency
94.0 (2nd overall, 2nd in West)
Possessions per 40 min.
73.5 (1st overall, 1st in West)
What are these stats?

Award Winners & Honorees
Tamecka Dixon
Lisa Leslie
Mwadi Mabika

All-WNBA, First Team
Lisa Leslie
Mwadi Mabika

All-Star Game MVP
Lisa Leslie

2002 Draft Review
Rd. 1 – 16, Rosalind Ross
Rd. 2 – 30, Gergana Slavtcheva*
Rd. 2 – 32, Jackie Higgins
Rd. 3 – 48, Rashana Barnes
Rd. 4 – 64, Tiffany Thompson

* Traded to Portland along with Ukari Figgs as part of draft-day deal for Nikki Teasley and Sophia Witherspoon

Playoff History
Four times in six years
Last Appearance
2002, Won WNBA Championship

2002 In Review: What Went Right?

Perennial All-Star Lisa Leslie and company won a third straight Western Conference regular-season championship and a second straight WNBA title. The Houston Comets nipped at the Sparks' heels throughout the regular season, but Los Angeles ran through the 2002 WNBA Playoffs winning all six games by an average margin of victory of 12 points.

They led the WNBA in field goal percentage (.445) and were second in three-point field goal percentage (.377) while pacing the league in rebound percentage and defensive rebound percentage. Leslie led the team in scoring (16.9) and rebounding (10.4), blocking a career-high 90 shots while earning All-WNBA First Team honors.

The trade that brought rookie point guard Nikki Teasley into the fold on draft day worked out perfectly as she was a more than capable replacement for the departed Ukari Figgs. She even nailed the game-winning basket in Game 2 of the WNBA Finals for good measure. On the year, Teasley averaged 6.4 points, 4.4 assists and 2.6 rebounds while hitting 40.0 percent of her three-point field goal attempts and turning the ball over only 68 times.

Mwadi Mabika continued her steady improvement as a pro, missing out on leading the Sparks in scoring by one point averaging 16.8 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.9 assists. She established a career high in field goal percentage at 42.3 percent and she topped the 80 percent mark from the free throw line for the third straight season.

What Went Wrong?

The Sparks turned the ball over more often than their opponents did by an average of two turnovers per game. After averaging 13.7 turnovers in 2001, Los Angeles averaged 16.2 in 2002.

Tamecka Dixon’s field goal percentage dropped for the second consecutive season from 45.4 percent in 2000, to 41.7 percent in 2001 to 39.1 percent in 2002. Her turnovers also rose for the third straight summer from 39 to 60 to 71 to 82. She then injured herself walking off the bus prior to shootaround of Game 1 of the WNBA Finals causing her to miss Game 1 and play just 14 minutes in Game 2.

Last year’s L.A. championship team was the least dominant title winner since the 1997 Houston Comets with an average margin of victory of 6.8 points during the regular season. Admittedly that’s like being the least intelligent member at a MENSA meeting – a MENSA member is still a genius and the Sparks were still the best team in the league last season.

Head Coach Michael Cooper

2002 Starting Line-up
G Nikki Teasley
G Tamecka Dixon
C Lisa Leslie
F Mwadi Mabika
F DeLisha Milton

Key 2002 Reserves
F Latasha Byears
G Sophia Witherspoon
G Nicky McCrimmon

Looking Ahead To 2003

Key Questions

Can the Sparks win their third straight WNBA Championship? If they were to accomplish the feat, it would be only the second time in major professional sports history that a dynasty (three or more consecutive championships) was followed immediately by another dynasty. The only other occurrence was the New York Islanders four straight title years of 1980-83 following up the Montreal Canadians string of four in a row (1976-79).

Was the Sparks dip in offensive efficiency in 2002 merely a blip on the radar screen or a trend? A number of Los Angeles’ key offensive statistics slipped last season including field goal percentage (.451 to .445) offensive rebound percentage (.358 to .338) and turnovers (13.7 to 16.2). The change in field goal percentage is actually larger than it would first appear because the league as a whole improved its field goal shooting from 41.1% to 42.0%. The Sparks’ offense would seem to be the key to its success as the team was 5-4 when scoring fewer than 70 points last season as compared to 20-3 when scoring 70 or more, and 4-4 when being held below 40 percent shooting from the field versus 21-3 when shooting 40 percent or better.