LOS ANGELES, Sept. 9 (Ticker) -- Lisa Leslie and the Los Angeles Sparks escaped with a win and now have the chance to defend their WNBA title.

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Leslie collected 26 points and seven rebounds as the two-time defending champions advanced to the WNBA Finals with a 66-63 victory over the Sacramento Monarchs.

Los Angeles captured the Western Conference finals in three games, improving to 4-0 in elimination games this postseason. The Sparks will open the WNBA Finals at home on Friday against the Eastern Conference champion Detroit Shock.

The Monarchs forged a 62-62 tie on rookie Kara Lawson's step-back jumper with 32 seconds left. After a timeout, Los Angeles went to Leslie on the low block. The 6-5 center made her move on the baseline and scored with 10 seconds to go.

Walker was fouled on a drive three seconds later and made the first free throw, before missing the tying attempt. Leslie's two foul shots with six seconds remaining made it 66-63 and Lawson missed a running three-pointer at the buzzer.

The Monarchs made 12-for-17 foul shots, but Walker missed a pair with 9:28 left to play and Tangela Smith also missed two with 3:45 to go to end the team's chances of making its first trip to the WNBA Finals.