Bethany Donaphin hit a turnaround jumper with five-tenths of a second remaining to lift the New York Liberty, at home, to a 66-64 victory over the defending WNBA champion Detroit Shock last night and into the Eastern Conference finals. New York won the series, 2-1.
" I had to get up a shot," said Donaphin, who finished with six points. "The play was for Crystal [Robinson] and the play broke down. That's why I got that shot."
Becky Hammon, who made the pass to Donaphin for the winning basket, scored a playoff-career high 20 points and Robinson added 17 -- including three three-pointers in the final 51/2 minutes -- for New York, which trailed by 15 points in the opening minute of the second half.
New York will play the winner of the Washington-Connecticut semifinal. The conference finals start Friday.
Deanna Nolan had 16 points and eight rebounds for Detroit, while Cheryl Ford added 13 points and nine rebounds.
Elena Baranova banked in a three-pointer for New York with 2 minutes 16 seconds remaining to tie the game at 57. It was the first tie since Detroit took the lead just three minutes into the game.
Robinson's last three-pointer put the Liberty up 60-58 with 1:37 remaining, its first lead since early in the first half.
After Ford tied the game with two free throws 24 seconds later, Robinson hit a layup with 55 seconds remaining to give New York a 62-60 lead. Vickie Johnson stretched the lead to three with a free throw 15 seconds later.
Ruth Riley pulled Detroit back within one with two free throws with 16 seconds left, and Baranova pushed the lead back up to two with a free throw 1.7 seconds after that.
Nolan then tied the game for the last time with a driving layup with 12 seconds remaining,
Detroit ended the first half on a 10-0 run over the final 2:54 to take a 37-24 lead.
* MONARCHS 73, SPARKS 58: In Los Angeles, Tangela Smith, DeMya Walker and Kara Lawson (West Springfield) each scored 17 points to lead Sacramento over the Sparks and into WNBA Western Conference finals.
Yolanda Griffith added 14 points and eight rebounds for the Monarchs, who won the best-of-three series, 2-1.