Sun shine way into WNBA finals

Posted: Monday, October 04, 2004

UNCASVILLE, Conn. -- The Connecticut Sun reached the WNBA Finals for the first time by beating the New York Liberty 60-57 Sunday behind Taj McWilliams-Franklin's 18 points to complete a two-game sweep of the Eastern Conference finals.

McWilliams-Franklin went 1-of-2 at the line with 48 seconds left to give the Sun a 55-54 edge and help deny New York a fifth trip to the championship series. She also had nine rebounds, including a key defensive board with less than 1 1/2 minutes left that led to a fastbreak layup by Lindsay Whalen making it 54-all.

McWilliams-Franklin was an original member of the Orlando Miracle, the team that moved to Connecticut last season.

Katie Douglas finished with 14 points for the Sun, while Nykesha Sales and Whalen added 11 apiece.

Vickie Johnson led New York with 19 points, and Crystal Robinson added 11.

Neither team led by more than five points in a game that featured 16 lead changes.

Storm 66, Monarchs 54

SEATTLE -- Lauren Jackson scored 23 points and the Seattle Storm forced a decisive third game in the Western Conference finals, beating the Sacramento Monarchs 66-54 Sunday night.

The series is tied 1-1. Game 3 is Tuesday night in Seattle.

After squandering a 14-point lead in the series opener in Sacramento, the Storm charged to a quick lead and held off another late charge by the Monarchs.

Seattle led by 10 with 3:07 left, but Sacramento chipped away, closing within 58-54 with 1:03 left.

Seattle's Sheri Sam missed a jumper with 40 seconds left, but Jackson pulled down the rebound and got the ball to Sue Bird, who was fouled. Bird made two free throws, and a turnover on Sacramento's next possession helped seal the win for Seattle.

Bird, playing with a protective mask over her broken nose, finished with 12 points.

DeMya Walker led Sacramento with 15 points, but the Monarchs' frontcourt trio of Walker, Yolanda Griffith and Tangela Smith were held to 35 total points after averaging nearly 45 through the playoffs.

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