Silver Stars Win Western Conference Showdown

San Antonio 72, Sacramento 61

SAN ANTONIO, August 9 (AP) -- Sophia Young and Shanna Crossley both scored 19 points and Becky Hammon had 16 points and eight assists in her return from a foot injury as the San Antonio Silver Stars defeated the Sacramento Monarchs 72-61 Thursday night.

The Silver Stars (18-11) pulled a game ahead of the Monarchs for second place in the Western Conference.

"We knew this was a big game,'' Hammon said. "The whole (playoffs) seeding thing is going to come down to the wire. It's going to be tit for tat.''

Yolanda Griffith scored 15 points and Rebekkah Brunson had 12 points and 19 rebounds for Sacramento (17-12). Brunson fell one short of the team record for rebounds set by Griffith six years ago.

The Monarchs shot 36 percent from the floor - including 5-for-20 shots in the third quarter.

San Antonio took a 15-point lead when Crossley sank a 3-pointer with 3:57 remaining in the game, and Sacramento failed to get within 10 points again.

San Antonio has won two of three meetings this season with one more game between the two teams on Wednesday in Sacramento.

Hammon, third in the league in scoring and tops in assists, was back in the lineup after missing two games with a sprained left foot.

"It was good,'' Hammon said. "Every now and then I'll feel it, but for the most part it was good.''

Vickie Johnson, however, missed her third straight game with a strained left Achilles' tendon. She's expected to return in time for the playoffs.

Hammon had four assists and Young 11 points in the first quarter to help the Silver Stars take a 19-16 lead. Hammon's layup stretched San Antonio's advantage to 40-32 with 1:52 left in the opening half.