Sue Bird tied a season high with 20 points, and the Seattle Storm ended the Phoenix Mercury's playoff hopes with an 85-74 win last night, its ninth straight home victory.

Seattle won despite playing nearly the last 23 minutes without leading scorer Lauren Jackson, who left with a back injury.

Because of Houston's win over Los Angeles, the Mercury (16-18) could have earned its first playoff berth since 2000 with a victory.

* COMETS 77, SPARKS 51: Dominique Canty scored 17 points to lead Houston, which will host defending WNBA champion Seattle in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs on Tuesday.

Visiting Los Angeles (17-17) earned the fourth and final postseason spot in the Western Conference and will host first-place Sacramento on Wednesday.

* FEVER 75, LIBERTY 50: Kelly Miller scored 13 points and Tully Bevilaqua added 10 points and six assists for visiting Indiana in a preview of a first-round Eastern Conference playoff series.

* SUN 78, STING 69: Asjha Jones scored a career-high 22 points as visiting Connecticut (26-8) set an Eastern Conference record for wins.

* MONARCHS 61, LYNX 52: Rebekkah Brunson (Georgetown) had 11 points and 11 rebounds to lead Sacramento in Minneapolis.