It’s time to blast from the past to the 2004 Mercury vs. Sparks game! In this week’s article, I will be writing about the WNBA in the 2000s. I chose an another WNBA classic game from Youtube and it is the 2004 Mercury vs. Sparks game. The matchup took place in Staples Center on July 7, 2004. The final score was 73-71 Sparks win over the Mercury.
Watching the 2004 Mercury vs. Sparks game was captivating because it was a close game. I was on the edge of my seat as Diana Taurasi, chosen 1st overall by the Phoenix Mercury that year, hits a 3-pointer from way downtown and Lisa Leslie blocking shots! As a seventeen-year-old Mercury fan watching one of the best rivalry matchups in the WNBA from the 2000s, I find it interesting that I get to relive history by watching these classics.
The 2004 Mercury vs. Sparks Game
In the first half of the game, the Sparks started off hot with a nine-point lead (the score was 16-7). Then the Mercury fought hard for the rest of the first half but were trailing by eight points to the Sparks.
In the second half, the Sparks continued to dominate on both ends by scoring points in the paint. Meanwhile, the Mercury were down by twelve points but the duo of Diana Taurasi and Penny Taylor stepped up big time.
With 2:03 remaining in the second half, Mercury forward Plenette Pierson makes a fadeaway shot and puts the Mercury on top 68-67. In less than a minute remaining in the game, Delisha Milton-Jones makes the jumper to tie the game 71-71. Anna DeForge commits the turnover as Laura Macchi steals the ball and it leads to Lisa Leslie’s game-winning basket.
Four Sparks players scored in double digits in a thrilling victory over the Mercury. Those players are Mwadi Mabika (14 points), Lisa Leslie (had a double-double of 13 points, 12 rebounds, and 3 blocks as she played on her birthday), DeLisha Milton-Jones (13 points), and Nikki Teasley (10 points and 9 assists). Meanwhile, for the Mercury, Diana Taurasi scored 25 points and Penny Taylor was on fire with 22 points and 6 rebounds.
Breakdown on the Mercury And Sparks Teams During the 2004 WNBA Season
I got to see the 2004 Phoenix Mercury team for the first time. In that season, the Mercury went 17-17 and missed the playoffs after fighting hard for a playoff spot. It was Diana Taurasi and Penny Taylor’s first year as teammates for the Mercury. I love seeing those two play together! Seeing other Mercury players like Tamara Moore and Anna DeForge interests me as they were great assets to the team that season.
In the end of the season, Diana Taurasi won the 2004 WNBA Rookie of the Year award. She also became the member of the All-WNBA first team as a shooting guard. The Phoenix Mercury participated in the draft lottery for the 2005 WNBA draft. They received the third overall pick to select Sandora Irvin out of TCU.
The Los Angeles Sparks dominated in the regular season with a 25-9 record (best in the WNBA and first in West). In the offseason, they acquired former Liberty player Teresa Weatherspoon and Tamika Whitmore. They started off the season in a dominating style, having six consecutive wins in June. Then in July, the Sparks had another winning streak as they won seven consecutive games.
In mid-season, head coach Michael Cooper resigned with the Sparks as he took an assistant coaching job for the Denver Nuggets. In the first round of the playoffs, the Sparks lost to the Sacramento Monarchs in three games, missing the WNBA Finals for the first time since 2000.
The Recap of The Sparks Dynasty in the WNBA from The Early 2000’s
The Los Angeles Sparks had an unbelievable dynasty, winning back-to-back championships led by Lisa Leslie, winning two finals MVP awards and an MVP award. Nikki Teasley is known for her clutch three-pointer she made in game 2 of the 2002 WNBA Finals in a 69-66 Sparks’ win over the New York Liberty.
The 2004 WNBA Season Recap
Lisa Leslie won the Most Valuable Player and the Defensive Player of the year awards in the end of the season awards. In the regular season, she led the WNBA in rebounds with 18.6 RPG. Storm F/C Lauren Jackson won the peak performer in scoring as she averaged 20.5 PPG.
The season concluded with the Seattle Storm winning its first-ever WNBA championship over the Connecticut Sun. Betty Lennox receives the Finals MVP award for leading the Storm in scoring with 22.3 ppg in the finals. Anne Donovan became the first female coach in the WNBA to led a team to a championship in the WNBA history.
Although I am a Mercury fan, I enjoyed watching the 2004 Mercury vs. Sparks game. I cannot wait to write more about the history of the WNBA in the next few weeks!