Los Angeles 69, New York 66
Teasley's Three Seals Sparks' Second WNBA Title
The Sparks claimed their second straight title as Teasley's 3-pointer with 2.4 seconds left gave them a 69-66 victory over the determined but defeated Liberty.
The Sparks have staked their claim to the league's second dynasty. Last year, they dethroned the four-time defending champion Houston Comets. This year, they swept through the postseason and dealt the Liberty yet another loss in the final round.
"We have been developing the last three years," Leslie said. "We had our growing pains. We lost games, but I think we have had the best record in the last three years. And we have continued to just get better."
Los Angeles appeared headed to an easy win, holding a 66-57 lead after a basket by Latasha Byears with less than three minutes to go. But the Sparks relaxed and the Liberty rallied.
Vickie Johnson made a three-pointer, Becky Hammon added a basket and Teresa Weatherspoon sank two free throws to cut the deficit to 66-64 with 1:13 left. Tari Phillips nailed the tying jumper with 18 seconds to go, and the Sparks called a timeout.
The Liberty collapsed on Leslie and the play broke down. Open on the right wing, Teasley launched a three-pointer that gave L.A. the lead and sent STAPLES Center into a panic.
"It's a dream come true," Teasley said. "As a player, you always dream about hitting the big shot to win the game."
New York inbounded to Weatherspoon, whose long, desperation three-pointer in a similar setting three years ago stunned Houston and evened the series. But her shot was blocked and the Sparks began their celebration.
A rookie acquired on draft day in a trade that sent the popular Ukari Figgs to Portland, Teasley had 11 points and 11 assists in the championship clincher. She also had 11 assists in Game 1.
"She is going to be so much better than what she is now," Leslie said. "She just hit the game-winning shot of the WNBA championship in her rookie year."
Leslie collected 17 points and seven rebounds as she helped the Sparks complete a 6-0 sweep of the postseason, joining Houston, which did it in 2000.
"Our coach (Michael Cooper) said we would go undefeated during the season and we fell short of that by seven games," Sparks guard Tamecka Dixon said. "But we came out in the playoffs undefeated and it feels good."
Johnson and Tamika Whitmore each scored 17 points for the Liberty, which tied the Comets with their fourth WNBA finals appearance. Unfortunately, they have lost all four.
"I am sick of coming up short," Whitmore said. "Things happen for a reason and it just wasn't our time."
After winning the opener in New York, LA looked like it was going to race to the title, scoring 18 of the first 22 points. But the Liberty, despite making just 6-of-30 shots, crept within 30-24 at halftime.
A three-point play by Johnson gave New York a 42-41 lead with 14:23 to play.
"We can't take anything from them," Sparks forward DeLisha Milton said. "They made some tremendous runs."