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Storm Ends Mercury’s Playoff Bid

From Associated Press

Sue Bird tied a season-high with 20 points, and the Seattle Storm ended the Phoenix Mercury’s playoff hopes with an 85-74 victory Saturday, the team’s ninth-straight home victory.

Seattle (20-14) won despite playing nearly the last 23 minutes without leading scorer Lauren Jackson. The former league most valuable player felt pain in her lower back after pulling down a defensive rebound late in the first half and was held out to rest for the playoffs.

For Phoenix (16-18), it was another disappointing finish. The Mercury needed to beat Seattle and have Houston beat the Sparks to earn its first playoff berth since 2000. The Comets did indeed beat the Sparks.

Diana Taurasi scored a career-high 31 points for the Mercury, but made just 11 of 25 shots. Kamila Vodichkova, who played for Seattle last season and was presented with her championship ring before the game, added 18 points.

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Indiana 75, New York 50 -- Kelly Miller scored 13 points and Tully Bevilaqua added 10 points and six assists to help the Fever beat the Liberty at Indianapolis.

The Fever (21-13), which set a franchise record for victories, won the season series, 3-1, and will open the first round of the playoffs at New York on Tuesday night.

Crystal Robinson scored 12 of her 19 points in the first half for New York (18-16), which rested its starters for much of the game. All-star Becky Hammon played only nine minutes and did not score.

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Connecticut 78, Charlotte 69 -- Asjha Jones scored a career-high 22 points and the visiting Sun set an Eastern Conference record for wins by beating the last-place Sting.

Lindsay Whalen added 18 points and Nykesha Sales scored 14 for the Sun (26-8), which topped Detroit’s 25-9 mark in 2003. Connecticut, which has home-court advantage throughout the playoffs, opens the first round Wednesday at Detroit.

Sheri Sam scored 21 points for the Sting (6-28), which finished with the worst record in team history. The previous low was 8-24 in 2000.

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Washington 76, Detroit 67 -- Reserve Laurie Koehn scored 15 points, making five of seven three-pointers, and the Mystics won at Washington.

The game had little meaning as Washington (16-18) was eliminated from playoff contention with a loss at Connecticut the previous night. Though the teams finished tied and split four meetings, Detroit (16-18) earned the fourth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot because of a better conference record.

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Sacramento 61, Minnesota 52 -- Rebekkah Brunson had 11 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Monarchs at Minneapolis.

Yolanda Griffith had 17 points and seven rebounds for Sacramento (25-9), which already had secured the top seeding in the Western Conference.

Nicole Ohlde scored 18 points for the Lynx (14-20), who lost the last four games of the season and will miss the playoffs for the first time in three years.


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