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Monarchs Clinch First West Title

From Associated Press

The Sacramento Monarchs clinched their first Western Conference title with a 64-57 victory over the San Antonio Stars on Thursday night at Arco Arena in Sacramento.

The Monarchs (22-8) set a franchise record for wins, eclipsing the 21-11 mark by the 2000 team.

Kara Lawson scored 14 of her 17 points in the second half, including Sacramento’s last six points. She made a three-point basket and a fastbreak layup with 2:16 left, putting the Monarchs ahead, 63-57.

The last-place Silver Stars (7-24) lost their sixth in a row.

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Sacramento was dealt a setback with 46.8 seconds left in the first half when leading scorer DeMya Walker sprained a knee. She finished with eight points.

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Seattle 76, Minnesota 60 -- Anne Donovan became the first female coach in the WNBA to reach 100 wins, as Lauren Jackson had 18 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Storm to its seventh consecutive home victory.

Donovan is the fourth coach in league history to reach the 100-victory milestone. Last fall, she became the first female coach to win a WNBA championship.

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Coupled with Houston’s win over Phoenix, the Storm remained a half game ahead of the Comets for second place in the Western Conference.

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Houston 77, Phoenix 66 -- Tina Thompson scored a season-high 20 points and Sheryl Swoopes scored 16 to lead the Comets at Houston.

Houston went on a 15-4 run early in the second half to stretch its lead to 58-44 with 12:07 left. Thompson made two three-pointers to start the run and capped it with a jumper.

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Indiana 67, Washington 57 -- Tamika Catchings scored 23 points to help clinch the Fever’s first playoff berth in three years. The Fever also set a franchise mark for home wins with 12.

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Connecticut 84, Charlotte 70 -- Lindsay Whalen scored 28 points at Uncasville, Conn., and the Sun moved a game closer to securing homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs.

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