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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sun shine in East, qualify for Finals vs. Sacramento

Associated Press

The Connecticut Sun are in the WNBA Finals for the second straight year but needed an extra five minutes to get there.

The Sun received 15 points from Taj McWilliams-Franklin and a key 3-pointer from Nykesha Sales in overtime to sweep the best-of-3 Eastern Conference finals with a 77-67 win over the Indiana Fever on Saturday at Uncasville, Conn.

It was the Sun’s first OT game of the season. They open the best-of-5 series finals at home Wednesday against the Sacramento Monarchs.

“I think it was great that it went to overtime; it sort of refreshed us,” Sales said. “All of us felt like we got the ugly things out of the way. But now we have a chance to finish things out and make sure they don’t happen again.”

It was also the final game of Natalie Williams’ 10-year professional career. The sturdy Fever forward closed it out with one of her best games of the season.

It just wasn’t enough to keep Indiana alive in the playoffs.

Williams, the all-time leading rebounder in U.S. women’s pro basketball, had a season-high 17 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Her 43 minutes were also a season high.

“I know there was time when I was tired, but for me this was it,” Williams said. “I gave it everything I had.”

Her father, Nate Williams, who played eight seasons in the NBA, watched his daughter’s final game from the stands. She announced her retirement earlier this season to spend more time with her 5-year-old twins.

Monarchs 74, Comets 65: At Sacramento, Calif., Yolanda Griffith scored 19 points and Kara Lawson had 18 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, leading Sacramento to a sweep of the Western Conference finals with a win over Houston.

After three previous failed attempts, the Monarchs reached the WNBA Finals for the first time.

The Monarchs set the tone early against the Comets, scoring the game’s first two baskets and never trailing. The lead was 14 points by halftime, and Houston never cut it to less than six the rest of the way.

Sacramento improved to 17-2 at home this year.

Sheryl Swoopes scored 24 points for Houston. Tina Thompson had 13 points, and Janeth Arcain added 12.

Lawson had her best game of the year, making all four 3-pointers and finishing 6 for 9 from the field.

The Monarchs shot 53 percent and outrebounded the Comets 43-30.

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