The New York Liberty will likely play its first game without Rebecca Lobo on Saturday.

Lobo, who has started in all 59 Liberty games, twisted her knee in the opening minute of New York's 87-60 victory over Cleveland in the WNBA season opener last night before 12,411 at Madison Square Garden. She did not return and underwent an MRI exam to determine the extent of her injury.

"She got an offensive rebound and I'm not sure if she came down on someone's foot, but she definitely twisted her knee," said Teresa Weatherspoon, who had 15 points. "To know Rebecca isn't here is an awful feeling. Every girl will pick it up for Rebecca."

On the second time down court, Lobo grabbed a rebound after Kym Hampton's missed shot, pivoted and fell to the floor in pain. Play continued as she remained under the Liberty basket for about 30 seconds before a referee called an injury timeout at 18 minutes 58 seconds.

The loss of Lobo dampened the debut of Liberty Coach Richie Adubato.

Vickie Johnson led New York with 17 points as the team shot 50 percent to win its third consecutive home opener. New York improved its home record to 22-7 overall.

The Liberty led 41-19 at intermission. The 19 first-half points by Cleveland represented a franchise low.

COMETS 77, MIRACLE 63: A sprained ankle slowed Cynthia Cooper, but not Houston. The two-time defending league champions spoiled the home debut of expansion Orlando, with Cooper hobbling to 24 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists.

"That's a gutsy effort . . . playing on the ankle that she could not walk on yesterday," Houston Coach Van Chancellor said.

Tina Thompson had 22 points and 12 rebounds, and Sheryl Swoopes had 18, including eight during a 19-2 second-half run that enabled the Comets to pull away.

Cooper, the two-time league MVP, sprained her right ankle in practice Wednesday and limped through warmups. Nevertheless, she was 7 for 10 and played all but three minutes.

SPARKS 100, MONARCHS 78: Lisa Leslie scored 19 points, and five teammates joined her in double figures as Los Angeles opened the season with a record-setting win over Sacramento in Inglewood, Calif. The 100 points were a franchise high for the Sparks, whose previous record was 93 against Sacramento two years ago.