Seattle Defeats LA; Phoenix Beats San Antonio

Some WNBA Playoff updates, courtesy of “Once again, the Seattle Storm were were just too much for the Los Angeles Sparks. Lauren Jackson had 24 points, nine rebounds, three blocks and three steals as the Storm beat the Sparks 81-66 Saturday to sweep their best-of-three Wetern Conference semifinals series. ‘Lauren makes that big of an impact,’ Seattle coach Brian Agler said. ‘It’s not just the scoring. It’s her ability to recognize double-teams and find open people. It’s what she does defensively.’ Swin Cash scored 16 points and Sue Bird added 15 to lead Seattle, which was a league-best 28-6 in the regular season. The Storm won a postseason series for the first time since winning the WNBA finals in 2004, and beat the Sparks in all seven matchups this year – including five in the regular season…  The Storm will face Phoenix in the conference finals, which begin Thursday night in Seattle. The Mercury beat San Antonio 92-73 earlier Saturday to sweep their series. ‘It was very important to close out the series tonight knowing our next opponent closed out their series as well,’ Jackson said. ‘We need as much time to get rest and focus our attention on Phoenix and making it to the finals.’ Tina Thompson led Los Angeles with 18 points, Noelle Quinn had 15 and DeLisha Milton-Jones cored 14.”

“Diana Taurasi scored 23 points and Tangela Smith added 16 for Phoenix in a 92-73 win Saturday over San Antonio, sweeping the Silver Stars in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs. Becky Hammon led the Silver Stars with 21 points and seven assists. Sophia Young had 15 points and Ruth Riley added 13. Phoenix has eliminated San Antonio from the playoffs three times in four years. The previous two times – 2007 and 2009 – the Mercury went on to win the WNBA championship. Candice Dupree scored 13 of her 19 points in the second half and had 11 rebounds for Phoenix. Penny Taylor added 12 points and 12 assists for the Mercury, who shot 53 percent from the field. Taurasi and Smith combined to make the Mercury’s first nine shots as they sprinted to a 21-2 lead in the first 8 minutes. Unlike Game 1, in which the Mercury gradually pulled away, this was a rout from the outset. The Silver Stars did not hit their second field goal until the 4-minute mark of the first period, when Becky Hammon drained a 3-pointer to make it 21-5. Phoenix led 30-15 at the end of the first quarter. San Antonio, hampered by the late-season loss of Chamique Holdsclaw because of a torn Achilles’ tendon, was 5 of 17 from the field in the opening quarter.”