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Sun sweep Shock in playoff series

UNCASVILLE, Conn. — Lindsay Whalen scored 27 points, and Nykesha Sales grabbed a career-high 12 rebounds to lead the Connecticut Sun to a 75-67 victory Friday night over the Detroit Shock for a sweep of their WNBA playoffs series.

The Sun, who advance from the first-round Eastern Conference success to play Indiana on Thursday, beat the best rebounding team in the league at its own game. The Sun finished 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.

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 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.

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.

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.

MONARCHS 81, SPARKS 63: At Sacramento, the Monarchs got 13 points apiece from Ticha Penicheiro and Yolanda Griffith, and swept Los Angeles out of the WNBA playoffs.

The Monarchs pulled away in the second half to win the Western Conference series in two games. It was the second straight first-round exit for the Sparks, who also lost to Sacramento in 2004.

The Monarchs will play the winner of the Seattle-Houston series. Game 3 of that matchup is Saturday night in Seattle.

Rebekkah Brunson had 13 points and nine rebounds for the Monarchs, who defeated Los Angeles 75-72 in Game 1. Kara Lawson added 11 points and Hamchetou Maiga 10.

Tamika Whitmore had 15 points and Nikki Teasley 14 for Los Angeles, which committed 18 turnovers. Making only her second career start, Raffaella Masciadri connected on three 3s and had a career-high 13 points.

Sparks leading scorer Chamique Holdsclaw and perennial All-Star Lisa Leslie never got going offensively. Holdsclaw shot 3-of-12 and had seven points. Bothered by foul problems, Leslie was 1-for-5 with six points and eight rebounds.