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WNBA PLAYOFFS

Luck is on their side

Sun cool down Fever in opener

At times, a little luck can be a great asset. The Connecticut Sun were happy it worked out that way last night.

Taj McWilliams-Franklin scored 24 points as the Sun beat the Indiana Fever, 73-68, to open the Eastern Conference finals at Indianapolis.

The Sun center then pronounced a key shot by teammate Katie Douglas as lucky.

Douglas (9 points) hit an off-balance bank shot from 23 feet away as the shot clock expired with 30 seconds remaining to give the Sun a 6-point lead.

Douglas said that was just the way she planned it.

''I felt I had to bank it, because I was at a really bad angle," she said. ''I think it hushed the crowd pretty good."

McWilliams-Franklin was dribbling with her back to the basket when Douglas called for the ball.

''I didn't know the clock was running down, and Katie did, and so she heaved it," McWilliams-Franklin said. ''Lucky. Better to be lucky than not."

Fever coach Brian Winters said the shot overcame his team's effort.

''We were right where we wanted to be," he said. ''We positioned ourselves to have a chance to win. That's all you can ask for in a playoff game."

Kelly Miller led Indiana with 14 points.

Connecticut will host the final two games of the series beginning tomorrow.

Monarchs 73, Comets 69 -- Yolanda Griffith scored 14 points and Kara Lawson added 12 to lead Sacramento to an overtime victory at Houston in the opening game of the Western Conference finals.

Nicole Powell forced overtime by hitting a desperation 3-pointer with four seconds left in regulation. The Monarchs scored the first 6 points in overtime and took the lead for good when DeMya Walker made a layup with 4.2 seconds to go.

Walker, who finished with 11 points, played for the first time since Aug. 18 while nursing a sprained right knee. She didn't start, but made four of her nine shots and added six rebounds.

With a win in either of two games this weekend in Sacramento, the Monarchs will advance to the league championship series for the first time in history.

Sheryl Swoopes scored 14 of her game-high 19 points in the second half for Houston. Tina Thompson added 18 points and Michelle Snow had 14.

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