On this day 20 years ago, Teresa Weatherspoon awarded New York with a miracle.
The Liberty found themselves down, 67-65, with 2.4 seconds remaining in Game 2 of the 1999 WNBA Finals after Tina Thompson banked a turnaround scoop shot off the glass to give the Houston Comets the advantage. Down 1-0 in a best-of-three series, the situation appeared dire for New York.
Out of timeouts, the Liberty had to inbound and improvise. Weatherspoon caught the ball one-fourth of the way down the court, left open as the Comets waited to pressure the rock. She turned toward the sideline, took a few dribbles and launched a prayer from behind half court. With thousands of Houston fans watching, expecting a championship to be clinched, the ball smacked the backboard and met net.
Game, Liberty, 68-67.
In WNBA lure, this play is known as “The Shot” and remains one of the league’s most famous plays. But unfortunately for Weatherspoon and the Liberty, it’s not as massive as it could have been. The Comets would complete the job the next day in a decisive Game 3, winning 59-47 to secure the team’s third-straight title.
The Spin on Teresa Weatherspoon
By the time the WNBA launched in 1997, Weatherspoon was already 31. But that didn’t stop her from becoming one of the best point guards in the W during some of the league’s earliest years.
Though she provided her team with three massive points in 1999, her game centered more about distributing than scoring. From 1997-2001, she averaged better than six assists per game, dipping slightly below in 2002 with 5.7 each contest. Weatherspoon appeared in the WNBA All-Star Game every year from 1999 to 2003 and started in every game she appeared in from the start of her career until the end of her time with the Liberty in 2003. She concluded her WNBA career with the Los Angeles Sparks in 2004, coming off the bench at 38 years old.