SAN ANTONIO, Sept. 22 (AP) - When she woke up in the morning, Sophia Young worried what it would be like to be out of the playoffs.
"It was not a good thought,'' Young said.
Maybe the fearful thoughts turned out to be a motivator because Young scored 27 points to lead the San Antonio Silver Stars to a 86-81 overtime victory over the Sacramento Monarchs on Monday in the decisive Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals.
San Antonio advances to the Western Conference finals for the second straight year. The Silver Stars will play on the road Thursday against the winner of the Los Angeles-Seattle series, which is tied 1-1 with Game 3 Tuesday.
The Monarchs forced overtime when they rallied from a 12-point fourth-quarter deficit with six minutes left in regulation. Nicole Powell tied it with 8.5 seconds left on a tough drive past Erin Buescher.
Powell scored 21 and Kara Lawson had 16.
San Antonio's Becky Hammon missed an off-balanced shot in the lane that could have won it for the Silver Stars.
But San Antonio made 15 of 16 free throws in overtime to finally put away Sacramento. Young made 7-of-8 of those.
San Antonio was 31-for-34 from the line for the game. Young hit 11-of-13, and Hammon all nine of her free throws.
"Offensively, the ball was not always dropping like we would hope, but Sophia put us on her back and really carried this team tonight,'' Hammon said. "It probably hurts. She's going to need a rubdown later.''
Hammon scored 14 to go along with teammate Ann Wauters' 15.
Wauters sank a pair of free throws to make it 78-73 with 1:28 to go in overtime.
Powell cut it to three on a drive to the basket on the next trip down the floor. But it's as close as Sacramento would get the rest of the game.
The Silver Stars' 24-10 regular-season record gives them homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs.
"I thought we had a heck of a season,'' Sacramento coach Jenny Boucek said. "(San Antonio) has the best record in the league. So we did everything we could.''
The Monarchs were knocked out of the first round for the second straight year by San Antonio. The last time Sacramento made it past the first round was in 2006.
Sacramento built a six-point lead late in the first quarter. But the Monarchs missed their next six shots and fell behind by 13 as the Silver Stars outscored Sacramento 21-2 during the next 8:43.
Edwige Lawson-Wade came off the bench to key San Antonio's second-quarter run by hitting 3-of-4 from the 3-point line and scoring 11 points in nine minutes during the quarter.
"She gave us the real X-factor,'' San Antonio coach Dan Hughes said. "She was that one shooter we were looking for.''
San Antonio's biggest lead in the first half was 14 when Vickie Johnson scored on a layup with 1:22 before halftime.
The Silver Stars outrebounded Sacramento 15-6 in the second quarter and hit all seven of their free throws and 4 of 8 from 3-point territory.
"They killed us in the paint in Game 2, but this time we kept them off the boards the best we could,'' Young said. "Free throws and loose balls ended up deciding this one.''
Chelsea Newton came off the Monarchs' bench and scored the final six points in the half to cut San Antonio's lead to 39-31 at halftime.
Sacramento played the series without 2007 All-Star forward Rebekkah Brunson, who hasn't played since late in the regular season because of a right fibula stress fracture
Rookie forward Crystal Kelly, who started for Brunson and scored a career-high 19 points off 7-of-9 shooting in Game 2, could only manage four points and 1-of-2 from the floor Monday.
The Monarchs had forced Game 3 with a 17-point victory over the Silver Stars in San Antonio on Saturday.
Sacramento carried over the energy from the Game 2 victory by jumping out to a 20-14 lead through the opening 7:51. Lawson hit an 11-foot jump shot and followed it with a trip to the lane when Hughes was called for a technical.
The Monarchs were outworking San Antonio on the boards, building a 16-9 advantage in rebounding. That included six offensive rebounds and a 6-0 edge in second-chance points.