Cheryl Ford had 21 points and nine rebounds, and Deanna Nolan scored 18 points to lead the defending WNBA champion Detroit Shock past the host New York Liberty, 76-66, yesterday, tying their first-round WNBA playoff series at one game each.

Ruth Riley had 13 points and Barbara Farris added 11 points and nine rebounds for Detroit, which bounced back after losing the opening game of the best-of-three series at home Friday night.

"We came with a purpose, we didn't want to go home," Detroit Coach Bill Laimbeer said. "We accomplished our first mission, and that was to win this game."

Reserve center La'Keshia Frett led the Liberty with a career-high 20 points, and Crystal Robinson added 15. New York lost for just the second time in its last seven games overall, and second time in the last nine at home.

After New York took its first lead of the game at 33-32 on Bethany Donaphin's layup 46 seconds into the second half, Detroit went on a 16-2 run over the next four minutes to take a 13-point lead. The Shock stretched its lead to 17 midway through the period.

The Liberty cut the deficit to 62-55 on Shameka Christon's three-pointer with 5 minutes 13 seconds remaining in the game.

Detroit followed with an 8-2 run to push its lead back up to 13, and New York didn't get closer than nine the rest of the way.

The Liberty set a franchise playoff record with 10 three-pointers, though it attempted 29.

* SPARKS 71, MONARCHS 57: Mwadi Mabika scored 22 points and Tamecka Dixon had 17 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists to lead Los Angeles, at home, over Sacramento in the second game of their Western Conference playoff series.

Lisa Leslie, who was named WNBA defensive player of the year yesterday, added 13 points and seven rebounds for the Sparks, who tied the best-of-three series. The deciding game will be tomorrow in Los Angeles.

Tangela Smith scored 15 points and Yolanda Griffith added 11 points and 11 rebounds for the Monarchs, who shot 26.8 percent, one-tenth of a point higher than their all-time playoff low.

Los Angeles led by 15 points in the first half but Sacramento pulled to 53-52 on Griffith's rebound basket with 8:51 to play.

Mabika made three three-point shots during an 11-2 burst that extended the Sparks lead to 64-54.