AUBURN HILLS, MICH. — Deanna Nolan scored 18 points and Taj McWilliams-Franklin added 14 points and eight rebounds to help the Detroit Shock beat the Phoenix Mercury 89-78 on Tuesday night in a rematch of last year's WNBA Finals.
The loss eliminated the defending champions from playoff contention with two games left in the regular season, while Detroit remained in contention for the Eastern Conference's top seed. No defending champ had ever missed the playoffs in WNBA history.
Katie Smith added 17 points for Detroit, which had six players score in double figures. Cappie Pondexter led the Mercury with 23 points and Diana Taurasi added 22.
Sacramento 77, Seattle 74
SACRAMENTO, CALIF. — Nicole Powell scored 20 points to help the Monarchs clinch the final playoff berth in the Western Conference with a victory over the Storm.
Kara Lawson added 19 points and had two big free throws in the closing seconds to help the Monarchs (18-14) reach the postseason for the sixth consecutive year. Sacramento trails Los Angeles by a game for the third seed in the Conference.
Katie Gearlds scored 17 points, including hitting her first five three-pointers, for Seattle. Tanisha Wright also had 17 points, Yolanda Griffith scored 16 and Camille Little added 12. Sue Bird, who averaged 21.8 points in the previous five games, was limited to six points and six assists.
San Antonio 82, New York 76
NEW YORK — Former Liberty star Becky Hammon scored 23 of her season-high 30 points in the second half to lead the Silver Stars to a victory at New York.
Sophia Young had 15 points and Erin Buescher added 13 for San Antonio (22-10), which won for the fifth time in six games and took over sole possession of first place in the Western Conference — one game ahead of Seattle, which lost at Sacramento later Tuesday.
Shameka Christon and Jessica Davenport scored 15 points each for New York (18-13), which fell 1½ games behind second-place Detroit in the East.
Chicago 78, Washington 59
CHICAGO — Jia Perkins scored 17 points and the Sky snapped a three-game losing streak with a victory over the Mystics.
Candice Dupree had 16 points, 10 rebounds and six assists for Chicago (12-20), which was eliminated from postseason contention after losing 69-61 in New York on Sunday. Armintie Price scored 14 and rookie Sylvia Fowles added 11 for the Sky.
Rookie Tasha Humphrey had 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Mystics (10-21), who lost their sixth in a row.
Houston 75, Connecticut 68
HOUSTON — Tina Thompson scored 21 points and helped keep the Comets' slim playoff hopes alive with a win over the Sun.
The victory snapped a five-game losing streak for Houston, which had been winless since the month long Olympic break.
Rookie Matee Ajavon added 17 points and Tamecka Dixon had 14 for the Comets, who snapped a seven-game losing streak to their Eastern Conference rivals.
Asjha Jones scored 22 points and Tamika Whitmore added 19 for Connecticut.
The Sun have already clinched a playoff spot and are battling Detroit for the East's No. 1 seed. The two teams are tied atop the conference.