August 26, 2006

The Day in the WNBA

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Cheryl Ford and the Shock will try to advance to the WNBA Finals for the second time in four years on Sunday.
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Return of the Champs: The Monarchs looked every bit like a championship team ready to defend their title as they rolled to an impressive 72-58 rout of the Sparks on Saturday that clinched a spot in the WNBA Finals. After a close 64-61 Game 1 victory, the Monarchs never gave the Sparks a chance in Game 2, opening a 23-13 lead after one quarter and a 45-21 bulge at the break. Yolanda Griffith scored 15 points and Kara Lawson added 13 and 10 rebounds. The Monarchs swept L.A. for the second straight season, doing so in the first round in 2005, and will open the WNBA Finals at either Detroit or Connecticut on Wednesday (8 ET on ESPN2).

Going The Distance: Connecticut's Katie Douglas provided her team with a huge emotional lift Saturday in Game 2 of the East Finals as she made a surprising return from a heel injury that was expected to sideline her for the rest of the playoffs. Douglas wasn't a major factor on the scoresheet with six points, four rebounds and three assists, but just seeing their leading scorer on the court no doubt helped inspire the Sun to a 77-68 victory that extended their season at least one more game. Taj McWilliams-Franklin scored 18 points and Margo Dydek added 17 for the Sun, who can capture their third straight Eastern Conference crown with a victory at home in Game 3 on Sunday (8 p.m. ET, ESPN2).

ďMomentum is such a tenuous thing in a three-game series. †I donít know that I necessarily believe in it because they were supposed to have it tonight. †Iím glad it was on our court. †I hope we pack the place tomorrow night and itís loud like it was tonight. †It was a great crowd tonight helping us, and we needed all that. †Hopefully weíll have the same atmosphere tomorrow night. †I think our players know they have a great opportunity in front of them.Ē

-- Connecticut coach Mike Thibault reacts following his team's 77-68 win over Detroit in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Saturday.


Deanna Nolan, DET: 27 pts

Tamara Moore, LAS: 16 pts
5-7, 2-3 3-pt FG

Margo Dydek, CON: 17 pts
6-9 FG


Katie Smith, DET: 1-9 FG, 0-4 3-pt FG, 2 pts

Swin Cash, DET: 2-11 FG, 4 pts

Asjha Jones, CON: 3-12 FG, 8 pts

It may have come in a losing effort, but Deanna Nolan did all she could to help the Shock avoid a decisive Game 3 in Connecticut on Sunday. Nolan scored a playoff career-high 27 points on 12-of-17 from the field with six rebounds and three assists in Detroit's 77-68 loss, its first defeat in five meetings this season against the Sun.

This section is usually reserved for players that hit game-winning shots or alter the course of a game at an opportune moment. All Katie Douglas had to do was show up. Douglas figured to be a spectator for the remainder of the playoffs after she sustained a hairline fracture in her right foot on Aug. 20 against Washington. After visiting a doctor in Indianapolis and receiving an anti-inflammatory injection, Douglas was in the Game 2 starting lineup and contributed six points, four boards and three assists in the Sun's 77-68 victory.