Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

BEAUTY IS NO SWEAT FOR LESLIE, WHO'S A BEAST ON COURT FOR USA Series: The Road to Atlanta COUNTDOWN 3 DAYS

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

BEAUTY IS NO SWEAT FOR LESLIE, WHO'S A BEAST ON COURT FOR USA Series: The Road to Atlanta COUNTDOWN 3 DAYS

Article excerpt

She defines the ultimate in versatility, able to jostle for inside position with burly and beefy opponents one day, then gracefully glide down the runway looking glamourous and beautiful.

Whether facing Zheng Hai-Xin, China's imposing center, or schmoozing with Ralph Lauren, USA Basketball's Lisa Leslie knows how to work the room.

And she can make that transition in the bounce of a basketball.

"Once I put on my USA practice gear uniform or any basketball paraphernalia from Nike, I'm ready to play," Leslie said after a USA Basketball practice at the Disney Institute. "It's about sweating, getting down and dirty, and playing aggressive. Yet when I go and take my shower and put on my shorts, skirt or a dress, I'm going to be me, which is naturally a woman. The transition is not hard.

"My femininity comes out naturally. Even when I play, I might fix my hair a little bit or have lipstick on, although I haven't worn any in a week because all the modeling shoots have made my skin break out."

One of the premier players in the world, Leslie has put away the fine clothes and makeup for the rest of the month. There is gold to be won in Atlanta, and now isn't the time for extracurricular activities, no matter how tempting.

Leslie, 24, is a prominent focus in the U.S. team's medal chase. At 6 feet 5, she is the tallest player on the team, averaging a team-high 17.3 points and seven rebounds at the center position in 51 exhibition victories.

Her dominating presence has fueled international attention, dating to 1990 and her senior season, when she scored 101 of her team's 102 points in the final game of the regular season for Morningside High in Inglewood, Calif. She did it in only two quarters; the opposition quit at halftime. That comes to an average of 6.3 points per minute.

Many observers now mark her as the best female player in the world. …

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