Sun 80, Mystics 77
The champagne was waiting in the Connecticut locker room and the Washington Mystics made sure the Sun worked right down to the last second for it.
Nykesha Sales had 17 points and the Sun held off a late-game rally by the Mystics to win, 80-77, and clinch its second straight Eastern Conference title on Sunday.
The league-leading Sun (23-6) clinched a playoff berth last week, but winning consecutive conference titles was reason to celebrate.
"We just had a toast to doing what we did," Sun Coach Mike Thibault said after the postgame bubbly. "When we made the playoffs, we didn't make a big deal about it, but winning the Eastern Conference with a couple weeks to go is a great accomplishment."
It appeared that Connecticut was going to cruise to its second conference title, up a comfortable 19 points with just more than five minutes to play. The Mystics, it turned out, were just getting warmed up.
Washington scored 27 points in the final five minutes to roar back and had a chance to send the game into overtime with the last possession. But DeLisha Milton-Jones back-rimmed a wide-open three-pointer as the buzzer sounded and the Sun survived.
"Sometimes the momentum changes when you are pressing and hustling around," Mystics Coach Richie Adubato said. "We were ice-cold most of the game and then we obviously got on fire right near the end."
"I had a good look at the basket, it was just a little too strong," Milton-Jones said. "It's a designed play and it worked very well, but the end result wasn't what we expected."
Charlotte Smith-Taylor led the Mystics (14-14) with 17 points and Alana Beard, who had 11 points in the late-game spurt, finished with 15.
* LIBERTY 73, STING 65: Becky Hammon scored 15 of her 19 points in the second half and host New York (16-13) rallied to beat last-place Charlotte (4-25).
The Liberty also announced that all-star center Ann Wauters will miss at least four weeks with a broken bone in her right hand. Wauters suffered the injury on Friday at Charlotte.
* FEVER 62, MERCURY 56: In Phoenix, Natalie Williams had 15 points and nine rebounds, helping Indiana (17-12) maintain a one-game lead over New York in the Eastern Conference. Phoenix fell to 13-14.
* COMETS 75, STORM 72: Sheryl Swoopes scored 23 points and Michelle Snow added 20 to help Houston (16-13) end a three-game losing streak with a win over visiting Seattle (16-13).