Flashback: Worst to first

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Finals MVP Ruth Riley, from left, rookie of the year Cheryl Ford, Swin Cash and Deanna Nolan celebrate the Shock’s Game 3 win over the Sparks.

On this day in 2003, the Detroit Shock won the first of their three WNBA titles when they beat the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Sparks 83-78 in front of a record crowd of 22,076 in Auburn Hills, Mich. Ruth Riley, who scored a career-high 27 points, was named MVP of the finals. The Shock, under coach Bill Laimbeer, had won a league-best 25 regular-season games in 2003, one year after losing a league-worst 23. Detroit would go on to win titles in 2006 and 2008 before moving to Tulsa prior to the 2010 season. The team has not made the playoffs since.