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Sparks 68, Comets 55

May 27, 2002

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HOUSTON (AP) _ Lisa Leslie scored 22 points as the Los Angeles Sparks spoiled Sheryl Swoopes’ return with a 68-55 victory over the Houston Comets on Monday.

DeLisha Milton added 15 points and rookie Nikki Teasley had 12 for the Sparks, who eliminated the Comets from the playoffs last season.

Swoopes, showing no effects from knee surgery that forced her to miss last season, scored 15 points in her first game since the WNBA championship game Aug. 26, 2000. She was the league’s MVP and defensive player of the year that season.

Leslie scored 18 points in the first half to help the defending WNBA champions recover from a 21-14 deficit in the first nine minutes, when the Comets hit 11 of their first 13 shots.

Leslie had 12 points to lead a 17-2 run during the final four minutes of the first half that brought the Sparks from a 24-22 deficit to a 37-30 lead at halftime. She also had 17 rebounds and three blocked shots, as the Sparks (2-0) dominated the boards 41-24.

Tina Thompson added 14 points for the Comets, shot just 8-of-39 the rest of the game after their hot start and finished shooting 37 percent from the field.

The Sparks were 4-1 record against the Comets last season, including a 2-0 sweep of the four-time defending champions in the first round of the playoffs. Los Angeles then swept Charlotte for their first WNBA title.

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