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Lisa Leslie top vote-getter at center for WNBA All-Star game

It will be her first All-Star game since 2006. She plans to retire after this season, her 13th.

July 15, 2009|Mark Medina

Though the Sparks' Lisa Leslie was the top vote-getter at center in the Western Conference, she remained uncertain Tuesday about whether she would play in the WNBA All-Star game on July 25.

Leslie, the league's all-time leading scorer, missed the last seven games since spraining her right knee June 19 against the Phoenix Mercury and had expected to return to the court July 22 when the Sparks play the Storm in Seattle.

She says doctors still are listing her as day to day, and she does not know when they will decide whether she can make her eighth and final All-Star appearance before retiring after this season.

"It's great that the fans chose me even though I've been hurt," said Leslie, who has career All-Star averages of 14.6 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in seven games, five as a starter. "I'm not sure if that's their way of giving me love and support for me. Hopefully I'll be able to play."

The final votes were announced during the Sparks' game Tuesday against Connecticut Sun at Mohegan Sun Arena, the same venue that will play host to the All-Star game. The Sparks lost, 82-71, and dropped to a 4-8 record.

Three Sparks players scored in double digits -- DeLisha Milton-Jones (a season-high 17 points), Betty Lennox (17) and Tina Thompson (11). But the Sun shot 45.7%, after entering the game shooting a league-worst 38.1%.

Seattle Storm forwards Lauren Jackson and Swin Cash, Storm guard Sue Bird and San Antonio Silver Stars guard Becky Hammon are the other Western Conference top vote-getters.

The Sparks' Lennox and Candace Parker were fifth and sixth in voting at guard, while Thompson and Milton-Jones were fifth and seventh at forward. Coaches will select the reserves by voting for six players within their conference, including two guards, two forwards, one center and one player regardless of position.

Indiana Fever forward Tamika Catchings led all players with 94,316 votes. Other Eastern Conference top vote-getters were Indiana guard Katie Douglas, Washington Mystics guard Alana Beard, Chicago Sky forward Candice Dupree and Sky center Sylvia Fowles.

Before spraining her knee, Leslie was averaging 10.4 points and 7.4 rebounds while battling a swollen thumb that she jammed during training camp.

She said her latest rehabilitation efforts have included riding the elliptical machine at a level-5 incline and running in water up to her waist.

Leslie said her last All-Star nomination brought back memories of her last seven appearances. That included five straight stints from 1999 to 2003 and three All-Star MVPS in 1999, 2001 and 2002.

"With this being my final season," she said, "hopefully I can go out and give the fans what they want."


The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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