Lynx fight off late Shock rally to win 75-72

MINNEAPOLIS(AP) The Minnesota Lynx are still fighting for a spot in the WNBA playoffs.

Trailing by five points and reeling from a 13-point run by the Detroit Shock, the Lynx rallied with nine straight points to win 75-72 on Wednesday night and pull into a fourth-place tie in the Western Conference with San Antonio.

Both teams have two games remaining, but San Antonio owns the tiebreaker.

Anna Montanana scored a career-high 12 points and her putback with 28.6 seconds put Minnesota ahead for good. Renee Montgomery and Rashanda McCants also scored 12 points for the Lynx, followed by Kelly Miller with 11, and Candice Wiggins and Charde Houston with 10.

Minnesota is trying to make the playoffs for the first time since 2004.

"They've been through a lot of these games not being able to close in the end,'' Lynx coach Jen Gillom said. "Now it's paying off for us. In those situations, they are able to keep their composure and win games.''

Cheryl Ford paced Detroit with 16 points - including nine during the Shock's late run. Alexis Hornbuckle tied a career high with 14 points.

Deanna Nolan, coming off back-to-back player of the week awards, shot 3 of 19 from the floor and finished with nine points.

Gillom credited Miller's defense for Nolan's struggles.

"I try to take it as a challenge for myself to limit her touches and limit how much she's involved in the offense,'' Miller said. "With such a good player, it's tough.''

Still, Detroit was in control when Ford's layup made it 69-64 with 2:14 to play. The Shock couldn't finish off what would have been a playoff-clinching victory.

"They needed a win, they're in desperation mode,'' Detroit coach Rick Mahorn said. "We're not in the playoffs. When it starts, when all the dust lands, we'll see if we're there. Right now we're still playing for a playoff spot.''

The Shock's loss was just their second in nine games, but the defending WNBA champions couldn't pull into a second-place tie with Atlanta. Detroit remains third in the Eastern Conference - one game ahead of Chicago, Washington and Connecticut. Each team has two games left.

NOTES: Lynx C Nicky Anosike missed her second straight game because of a partially torn meniscus in her left knee. When Gillom was asked if Anosike would accompany the team to Los Angeles for Friday's game, she said "probably not.'' ... Shock G and former Lynx star Katie Smith didn't make the trip to Minnesota due to low back pain and remains day to day. ... Former Shock coach and general manager Bill Laimbeer sat courtside next to Minnesota Vikings defensive linemen Kevin Williams and Pat Williams. Laimbeer, who took over in Detroit in 2002, resigned three games into this season to pursue an NBA job. Minnesota Timberwolves coach Kurt Rambis then added Laimbeer to his staff as an assistant.

Calendar Strip here