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Leslies tops 6,000 points, leads Sparks past Fever

Aug 11, 2009 - 5:54 AM LOS ANGELES(AP) -- Lisa Leslie surprised herself with her latest milestone.

Leslie had 21 points and 11 rebounds, and became the first WNBA player to reach 6,000 career points as the Los Angeles Sparks beat the Indiana Fever 75-63 on Monday night.

Leslie reached the milestone with an 11-foot jumper as the shot-clock buzzer sounded with 11.9 seconds left in the second quarter.

"I didn't know about the 6,000 at all," said Leslie, who added that she felt surprised when her husband, Michael Lockwood, showed six fingers from his courtside seat. "I saw him when we were running down and he's standing up doing a six. I'm like, 'There's 12 seconds on the clock. What are you talking about?"'

The eight-time All-Star, who now has 6,010 points, is also tops in career rebounds with 3,214.

Indiana's Tamika Catchings praised Leslie's diligence despite recovering from a sprained right knee.

"You can tell a little bit that her knee is still not 100 percent," Catchings said. "But she's going to work and work and work to get the ball. She did it all. She kiilled us."

Candace Parker added 14 points and Noelle Quinn had 10 points for the Sparks (8-11), who shot a season-high 51 percent in getting their fourth victory in six games.

"It was just a matter of getting their timing and their rhythm," Sparks coach Michael Cooper said. "We played our first 15, 16 games as bad as I think any team that I've been affiliated with in L.A.

"But I knew this was going to come. This team is on to something real, real special."

Katie Douglas scored 16 points for the Eastern Conference-leading Fever (17-5), whose five-game winning streak ended. Catchings added 15 points and rookie Briann January had 10.

Los Angeles shot 58 percent in the first half and built a 17-point advantage before the Fever narrowed the deficit to 51-50 with 8:17 to play. But the Sparks used a 9-0 spree to extend their lead to 62-52 with 4:48 remaining.

"They really played with a sense of urgency," Catchings said. "They switched everything with their defense and they're able to do that because they're not really a team with normal height."

Leslie, one of four remaining players from the league's first season in 1997, began the year with 5,909 points but missed 11 games due to a sprained right knee and bruised right hip.

Los Angeles' Tina Thompson, in her first season with the Sparks after 12 with Houston, Indiana's Tamecka Dixon and San Antonio's Vickie Johnson have also been in the league since the start. Leslie, who sat out the 2007 season after the birth of her daughter, and Johnson have already announced they are retiring at the end of this season.

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    Fever 63, Sparks 75  FinalAug 11 4:38 AM

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