LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Five years had passed since Lisa Leslie last tried to dunk in a WNBA game. She had waited long enough.
The 6-foot-5 center, who missed a jam in the inaugural WNBA game in 1997, slammed home a one-hander Tuesday night to become the first woman to dunk in a professional game.
"I thought today would be a great time to try," Leslie said. "There has been a lot of talk and pressure around it. I finally had the opportunity."
Leslie received an outlet pass from Latasha Byears, took two dribbles and dunked with 4:44 left in the half of the Los Angeles Sparks' 82-73 loss to the Miami Sol.
She smiled broadly and spread her arms wide as she raced back down the court, greeted by brief hugs from teammates. During the next stop in play, the team gathered on the court for more hugs and a quick celebration.
Sparks coach Michael Cooper jumped up and down after the jam.
"We should have won this game for that reason alone," Cooper said.
Leslie quieted all the talk about who would be the first to dunk in the WNBA.
Sylvia Crawley of the Portland Fire and Houston Comets rookie Michelle Snow had both signaled their intent to dunk when the opportunity arose. In fact, Crawley's coach even designed a breakaway play aimed at getting a slam.
Leslie's teammates said they had been waiting for this.
"We were anticipating the moment and it was spectacular," forward DeLisha Milton said. "Lisa did not let us down. It was clean, and no one can say anything about it. She put it down, plain and simple."
"It was great for the women's game," the Sol's Debbie Black said.
The first woman to dunk in a college game was West Virginia's Georgeann Wells, who did it Dec. 21, 1984. North Carolina's Charlotte Smith dunked in 1994. Snow had dunked three times during her college career at Tennessee.
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