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WNBA: West Slips By East in All-Star Game - 2002-07-16

The fourth U.S. Women's National Basketball Association All-Star game was played Monday night here at the MCI Center in Washington. The WNBA is in its sixth season, and this was the fourth time it has held a mid-season All-Star game, just like the NBA. And for the fourth straight year, it was the Western Conference defeating the Eastern Conference, 81-76.

The West led for the entire first half, until the final shot before the intermission, when the East tied the game at 40. The West scored the first eight points of the second half, but the East answered with eight straight points, and the game was close the rest of the way.

West Coach Michael Cooper of the Los Angeles Sparks said he was glad the fans saw an entertaining game. "I think the closeness of the game only helps the game. You know, no one wants to come to see a 25, [or] 30-point blowout, and just people running up and down the court. So, I like the fact that both teams played extremely well, and the gap was closed," he said. "Our goal in the locker room was to score 100 points, but, you know, these were the most fantastic, exciting 81 points that I've seen our team play in any game this season."

Lisa Leslie of the Los Angeles Sparks was named the WNBA All-Star game Most Valuable Player. She scored 18 points, and broke the game's record for rebounds by grabbing 14. "Overall, it was an awesome [great] All-Star game. I don't think we could have asked for a better game to be played here in the nation's capital. It was very competitive," she said. "Obviously, the East is much improved, and they did a great job of really fighting hard and executing."

But, in the end, the West prevailed for the fourth time in four WNBA All-Star games.