Shock 67

(16-18, 4-13 away)

Sun 75

(26-8, 14-3 home)

    8:00 PM ET, September 2, 2005

    Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, CT

    1 2 3 4 T
    null 31 36 67
    null 42 33 75

    Top Performers

    Detroit: D. Nolan 23 Pts, 4 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 Blk

    Connecticut: L. Whalen 27 Pts, 4 Reb, 3 Ast, 2 Stl

    Whalen's 27 points, Sales' 12 boards lead Sun to East finals

    UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) -- The Connecticut Sun bounced Detroit from the postseason Friday night by beating the best rebounding team in the league at its own game.

    Lindsay Whalen scored 27 points, and Nykesha Sales grabbed a career-high 12 rebounds to lead the Sun to a 75-67 victory over the Shock and a sweep of their WNBA playoff series. It was the second straight first-round exit for Detroit, which won the WNBA championship in 2003.

    "We knew Detroit was in our path and we didn't care how we did it," Whalen said. "We just wanted to go out, play hard and get the job done."

    The Sun advance from the first-round Eastern Conference success to play Indiana on Thursday, finishing off the two-game sweep by outrebounding the Shock 47-42 with a physical post game.

    Taj McWilliams-Franklin added 16 points and eight rebounds for the Sun.

    Deanna Nolan scored 23 points for the Shock. Detroit's leading rebounders, Cheryl Ford and Ruth Riley fouled out in the closing minutes. Ford finished with 13 points. Riley had 10 to go with eight rebounds.

    "That was a heck of a game," Connecticut coach Mike Thibault said. "We took the best rebounding team in the league and we outrebounded them, got to the free throw line and did the things you have to do in playoff games to win."

    Connecticut never trailed and enjoyed a double-digit advantage for most of the second half. But Nolan scored 12 of her points in the final four minutes to help the Shock cut the lead to three with 2:19 left. That's when the Sun's post players came up big.

    Margo Dydek, Connecticut's 7-foot-2 center, had just missed a pair of free throws but quickly atoned on the next possession when she blocked Kara Braxton's shot and started a fastbreak. McWilliams-Franklin finished off the breakaway with a fadeaway jumper with 22 seconds left for a 72-67 lead.

    "That block she had was huge,' Sales said. "Some of the stuff (Detroit) was wrapping around her, she would usually swing and get a foul, but to concentrate on that block, it definitely turned the game around."

    All Detroit could do thereafter was foul. But McWilliams-Franklin, who received the WNBA Kim Perrot Sportsmanship award before the game, iced it for Connecticut by going 4-of-4 from the line.

    Whalen was 15-of-17 from the line and finished with seven assists. Dydek had three of the Sun's five blocked shots.

    "Lindsay kept attacking and attacking. They didn't have an answer on how to guard her on the pick-and-roll," Thibault said. "They tried about three different things and she just kept going to the basket, finding people and getting fouled."

    Sales had seven of Connecticut's 20 first-half boards that led to several transition baskets. Whalen scored Connecticut's first eight points to get the Sun out to a fast start.

    The Sun led by as many as 12 points in the first half. Detroit got within five with 4:40 remaining when Katie Smith's 3-pointer capped a 6-0 run. But Connecticut countered an 8-0 run and led 42-31 at the break.

    For Detroit, the season came to frustrating end.

    "The whole season's been that way," coach Bill Laimbeer said. "A lot of it was our fault. For many games we didn't show up mentally. It's not discouraging, it's frustrating."

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

      Dallas Connecticut
    Points 67 75
    FG Made-Attempted 25-69 (.000) 20-51 (.000)
    3P Made-Attempted 5-11 (.455) 6-15 (.400)
    FT Made-Attempted 12-17 (.000) 29-38 (.000)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 15-33 12-36
    Assists 14 11
    Turnovers 13 16
    Steals 11 7
    Blocks 3 5
    Fast Break Points 10 7
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 27 (0/0) 13 (0/0)