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WNBA ROUNDUP

Utah Too Strong for Portland

July 31, 2001|From Associated Press

The Utah Starzz strengthened their hold on the final playoff spot in the WNBA's Western Conference with their fourth consecutive victory, defeating the Portland Fire, 79-73, Monday night before 7,905 at Portland, Ore.

The Starzz (13-11), in fourth place in the West, moved 2 1/2 games ahead of the Fire (11-14), which had been tied with Phoenix (11-13) for fifth before the game.

Adrienne Goodson had 20 points and seven rebounds for Utah. Jennifer Azzi scored 18 points, and Margo Dydek had 15 points and seven rebounds.

Jackie Stiles scored 16 points for Portland, which suffered its third consecutive loss. Sylvia Crawley scored 14 points, and DeMya Walker had 12.

Goodson sank an off-balance three-point shot with 31 seconds left that all but ensured the victory for Utah, which lost its lead midway through the second half.

Portland went ahead, 64-61, with 6:32 left when Crawley put back Tamicha Jackson's miss, but the Fire went 4:30 without scoring as the Starzz built a 71-64 lead.

Houston 55, Seattle 51--Janeth Arcain scored 16 points and Tina Thompson had 14 and 11 rebounds as the Comets (16-8) ended a two-game losing streak before 12,573 at Houston.

Lauren Jackson scored 16 points, and Semeka Randall had 14 for the Storm (9-17), which lost for the 12th time in 14 games.

Cleveland 65, Orlando 47--Helen Darling scored 16 points and made two three-point shots during a pivotal second-half run for the Eastern Conference-leading Rockers before 10,043 at Cleveland.

Darling made her consecutive three-point shots during an 11-0 run that put the Rockers ahead, 39-29.

Ann Wauters added 15 points for Cleveland (20-6), which improved to 13-1 at home and has clinched a playoff berth.

Nykesha Sales scored 15 points for Orlando (9-16), which fell two games behind Charlotte in the race for the final Eastern playoff berth.

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