AUBURN HILLS, Mich. Nykesha Sales scored 19 points and Taj McWilliams-Franklin added 14 points and nine rebounds as the Connecticut Sun defeated the Detroit Shock 73-62 in Game 1 of their first-round WNBA playoff series Wednesday night.
Katie Douglas, Lindsay Whalen and Asjha Jones all had 13 points for Connecticut, which shot 46 percent from the field and held Detroit to 35 percent.
Deanna Nolan scored 14 points and Katie Smith added 13 for the Shock, who dropped the opening game of the first round at home for the second straight year.
The Shock started the second half with an 11-0 run to take a one-point lead on Smith's short jumper with 16:42 to go.
The teams traded the lead until Sales hit back-to-back 3-pointers to put the Sun up 56-51 with 10:38 left. Detroit didn't get closer than four again, and the Sun pulled away in the final minutes.
Monarchs 75, Sparks 72
LOS ANGELES Yolanda Griffith and Nicole Powell each scored 18 points and Sacramento held off a late rally to win the series opener.
Los Angeles outscored Sacramento 20-11 over the final 8 minutes, getting within three on a 3-pointer by Chamique Holdsclaw with 58 seconds left.
The Sparks must win Game 2 at Sacramento on Friday night to avoid being eliminated in the first round for the second consecutive year.
The top-seeded Monarchs won three of four games against the fourth-seeded Sparks during the regular season.
Holdsclaw led the Sparks with 24 points and Leslie added 12.
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