By Dan Savage

Sept. 5, 2008: Scoreboard | Video Play of the Day | Today in the WNBA Archive

Diana Taurasi and Cappie Pondexter displayed their support for Breast Health Awareness Night before Phoenix took on Sacramento on Friday. Barry Gossage/NBAE/Getty Images
N.Y. and San Antonio Get Invites to Postseason Party

Liberty and Silver Stars clinch playoff berths with big wins: You might have mistaken this Friday in the WNBA for New Years Eve. No, there wasnt any cold weather, balls dropping in Times Square or Dick Clark on television, but there was a whole lot of celebrating going on. The Liberty tipped off the party with a huge win over the Dream. Despite missing leading scorer Shameka Christon (hamstring) and top rebounder Tiffany Jackson (stress fracuture), New York had no trouble clinching its second straight playoff berth. Janel McCarville continued to display her interior dominance on an efficient 10-of-15 night from the field for 21 points. San Antonio joined the our-season-will-go-on-even-after-the-regular-one-is-over parade later in the night, after clobbering Los Angeles at home. Edwige Lawson-Wade fired off a career-high 14 points to help the Silver Stars notch their franchise-high matching 20th win of the season and move into a tie for first place in the West. "Were just trying to make a statement," San Antonio guard Vickie Johnson said. "The team that goes into the playoffs playing well is usually the team that wins it."

Mercury Live to See Another Day: In the history of the WNBA, no defending champion has ever missed the playoffs the year after their title run. The Phoenix Mercury want to make sure it stays that way. And on Friday, they took another step to reaching that goal. With their playoff lives on the line, Phoenix manhandled Sacramento courtesy of a big night from their MVP Diana Taurasi. Dee exploded for 26 points and eight rebounds to help the Mercury stay in playoff contention and pull within two games of the Monarchs for the fourth and final postseason spot in the Western Conference. Although it still needs Sacramento along with several other teams to drop a few contests, Phoenix firmly believes it can take its final four games and close out the season on a six-game winning streak. After all, it did accomplish the very same feat in 2006.
Id much rather have gotten the win. I think eventually Ill think about it, but its just something that everybody knows Id much rather have team success instead of individual success."

-- Monarchs guard Ticha Penicheiro on notching her 2,000th career assist in Sacramento's loss to Phoenix on Friday. The Monarchs fell, despite the return of Rebekkah Brunson from knee surgery.

Deanna Nolan, Shock
19 pts, 8-9 FG, 3-3 3-pt FG
90-68 win vs. Fever

Janel McCarville, Liberty
21 pts, 10-15 FG, 10-11 FT
82-71 win vs. Dream

Edwige Lawson-Wade, Silver Stars
14 pts, 5-8 FG, 4-4 3-pt FG, 2-2 FT
76-58 win vs. Sparks

Shannon Bobbitt, Sparks
0-6 FG, 0-4 3-pt FG, 0 pts
76-58 loss at Silver Stars

Tan White, Fever
1-7 FG, 0-2 3-pt FG, 4 pts
90-68 loss at Shock

Nicole Powell, Monarchs
2-10 FG, 6 pts
81-69 loss at Mercury

Saturday's Games ...

  • Detroit at Washington, 6 p.m. ET
  • Los Angeles at Houston, 8:30 p.m. ET
  • Minnesota at Seattle, 10 p.m. ET
  • Bird

    Between her four-game suspension for the on-the-court incident against the Sparks and the Olympic break, its been a while since Plenette Pierson has touched the court. But during her time off, Pierson made a commitment to work on her mental approach to the game in order to ensure that Detroit would make another title run. Clearly, it paid off. Pierson erupted for 20 points, six rebounds and four assists off the bench Friday, leading the Shock to an easy win over the Fever. I wanted to come out and play hard tonight, she said after the game. And I think we all did that.
    If Sylvia Fowles didnt suffer a knee injury early in the season, you have to wonder, would she have challenged front-runner Candace Parker for the Rookie of the Year award? Even though the answer to that question is probably no, the second overall pick in the 2008 WNBA Draft has put up some amazing numbers lately. Shes scored in double figures in every game since the Olympic break, including a 16-point, six-rebound performance in the Skys loss to the Sun, who won their seventh straight game on Friday. Although Chicagos playoff hopes are getting dim, you have to like its chances next season with Fowles and the rest of its young core finally gaining a sense of cohesiveness.