Jackson has 18 points, nine rebounds to lead Storm past Lynx

SEATTLE - Lauren Jackson scored 18 points as the Seattle Storm gradually pulled away from Minnesota during the fourth quarter Tuesday night for an 81-67 victory.

Iziane Castro Marques added 17 points, giving the Storm (16-17) a 64-55 lead near the five-minute mark. Betty Lennox, coming off a career-high 34 points last Saturday against Washington, tallied 15 for Seattle, including a 3-point play with 1:55 left for a 74-61 lead.

Seimone Augustus had 28 points for the Lynx (8-24), getting 16 of those during the first half. Nicole Ohlde added 18 for Minnesota and Svetlana Abrosimova had 13.

The Storm, who already have clinched the No. 4 playoff seed in the Western Conference, started the fourth quarter with just a 50-47 lead. But an 11-4 run to open the quarter pushed it to 10 points, 61-51, and the Lynx never got closer than six the rest of the way.

The Storm had built a 38-26 lead with three minutes remaining in the first half. But the Lynx, led by seven points from Augustus, went on an 11-2 run to close the half, getting within 40-37 at the break.

Minnesota took advantage of some sloppy ball handling by Seattle through the first 20 minutes. The Storm had 11 turnovers in the first half, leading to 16 points by the Lynx.

Jackson had nine rebounds for Seattle, which ruled the boards 35-30. Ohlde collected eight rebounds for Minnesota.

Mystics 65, Sun 64

At Washington, Alana Beard scored 18 of her 28 points in the fourth quarter to rally Washington past Connecticut.

Coco Miller had 15 points on 6-for-7 shooting from the field to help the Mystics (15-17) snap a two-game losing streak and hold on to fourth place in the Eastern Conference. Washington increased its lead to 1 1/2 games ahead of fifth-place New York, which lost at Chicago.

Margo Dydek had 17 points and 11 rebounds and Lindsay Whalen added 13 points for the Sun (17-14), who lost for just the second time in seven games. Asjha Jones scored 11 points and Douglas added 10. Connecticut, which has already clinched a playoff berth, dropped two games behind second-place Indiana - the Sun's likely first-round playoff opponent.

Sky 77, Liberty 65

At Chicago, Jia Perkins scored 24 points to help Chicago snap a five-game losing streak.

Stacey Dales had 17 points, Candice Dupree 16 and Dominique Canty added 12 for Chicago (13-19), which was eliminated from the playoffs when Washington beat Connecticut earlier in the night.

Comets 81, Shock 73

At Auburn Hills, Mich., Tina Thompson had 25 points and nine rebounds to lead Houston over defending champion Detroit.

Michelle Snow added 13 points and Hamchetou Maiga-Ba 10 for the Comets (12-20), already elimanted from postseason contention for just the second time in the league's 11-year history.

Deanna Nolan scored 20 points and Katie Smith had 16 for the Shock (24-8).

ver Stars 84, Sparks 77 (OT)

At Los Angeles, Vickie Johnson and Sophia Young scored 19 points each to lead San Antonio over Los Angeles in overtime.

Becky Hammon added 18 points for the Silver Stars (20-11), who moved within a half-game of first-place Phoenix in the Western Conference.

Christi Thomas had 18 points and a career-high 13 rebounds for the Sparks (10-22), who have lost nine of 11 games. Mwadi Mabika added 16 points.

The Silver Stars, who led by as many as 11 points in regulation, began overtime with a 10-2 spree to take a 79-71 lead with 1:26 left.

n NOTE: Chicago forward Chasity Melvin was taken to a hospital after she was poked in the left eye in the first quarter of the Sky's game against the New York Liberty on Tuesday night.

Midway through the opening quarter, Melvin grabbed a defensive rebound and was poked in the eye with several fingers by New York's Shameka Christon. Melvin immediately fell to the floor, where she stayed for several minutes while she was attended to by several coaches and trainers.

"I really feel like I'm going to have nightmares," Melvin said, while wearing sunglasses after the game. "It was kind of traumatizing. I really felt my eyeball coming out. I felt it coming out and I felt it outside of my face. It's going to take some time to get over this."

Melvin held a towel over her left eye and walked off the court with assistance while declining a stretcher. She was taken to the UIC Medical Center in an ambulance and preliminary tests showed no loss of vision, according to the team.