9/04/1999 - Weatherspoon hits halfcourt three
The WNBA never came remotely close to matching the mainstream success of the NBA. But for one shining moment, the league had sports shows everywhere leading off with their highlight of the night, because male or female, it was mighty impressive.
In Game 2 of the best-of-three WNBA Finals, the Houston Comets had a 67-65 lead with only 0.4 seconds on the clock. Having won the first game as well, they were less than half a second away from winning their third consecutive championship -- and the first three in the inception of the WNBA.
The ball was thrown in to New York Liberty point guard Teresa Weatherspoon, who caught it just beyond the half court mark. Weatherspoon immediately shot it at the basket, with little time to aim. As confetti prematurely trickled onto the floor, as the sellout crowd in Houston cheered loudly and as Comets players began to celebrate, Weatherspoon's shot hit the back of the glass and banked in. The crowd fell silent and the Comets looked stunned as disbelieving Liberty players ran onto the court to mob her.
"When the ball left my hands I knew it was going in," Weatherspoon later told the New York Daily News. "Everyone always asks me about how I felt when the ball went in, but nobody asks me how I felt when they all piled on top of me. I couldn't breathe. It was exciting to see my teammates excited."
It was the first time a last-second, halfcourt shot had occurred in a championship game since Jerry West did it against the Knicks in 1970. West's Lakers lost that series, and Weatherspoon's did as well. A couple nights later, the Comets beat the Liberty to claim their third consecutive title.