Silver Stars Defeat Sparks; Clinch Playoff Berth

SAN ANTONIO, August 4, 2007 (AP) -- Shana Crossley came off the bench to lead San Antonio for the second straight game in scoring with 26 points as the Silver Stars clinched their first playoff berth since moving to Texas with an 86-67 win over the Los Angeles Sparks on Saturday.

The franchise's last appearance in the postseason was 2002 as the Utah Starzz.

Sophia Young added 22 points for San Antonio (17-10). Marie Ferdinand-Harris scored 11 and had nine rebounds and Ruth Riley scored 10.

The Sparks were led by Christi Thomas with 15. Los Angeles (9-18) has lost 12 of 14 games.

Sparks starting point guard Temeka Johnson left after playing less than five minutes when she experienced tightness in her right quadriceps.

The Silver Stars took a lead 3:21 into the game and never trailed after that despite missing two starters.

Becky Hammon, third in the league in scoring with 19.4 points per game and first in assists with 5.1 per game, missed the game with a right foot sprain.

Vickie Johnson had a streak of 159 consecutive starts broken because she missed the game with a left Achilles' tendon strain. Johnson is one assist short of becoming the sixth player in WNBA history with 1,000 career assists.

Helen Darling had nine assists in place of Hammon at point guard.

The Silver Stars went ahead by 13 when Young hit the second of two free throws with 1:17 remaining in the third quarter.

The closest the Sparks could get after that was nine points on several occasions. The last time they cut it to nine came with 4:47 remaining when Sherill Baker hit two free throws.

But a minute later Crossley hit her sixth 3-pointer to make it 77-62, and the Silver Stars finished the game by outscoring Los Angeles 9-5.