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EAST FINALS

Detroit Is Conference Champion

September 08, 2003|From Associated Press

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — In his first full season as coach of the Detroit Shock, Bill Laimbeer has led the team from worst in the WNBA to Eastern Conference champions.

Swin Cash scored 20 points and Deanna Nolan added 17 before leaving with a back injury as the Detroit Shock completed a two-game sweep of the Connecticut Sun with a 79-73 victory Sunday night and earned a berth in the WNBA finals.

"You have to give a lot of credit to the girls, but it was really Bill who saved this franchise," team President Tom Wilson said.

Laimbeer took over in 2002 when Detroit was 0-10. The Shock went on to finish a league-worst 9-23.

Nolan was taken off the court on a stretcher after she fell violently on her back with Detroit ahead, 65-64, with 5:28 to play. She had gone up high to block a layup by Nykesha Sales and flipped over Sales' shoulder.

"At this point, it's just considered a bruise, and her status for Friday is unclear," Laimbeer said.

After Connecticut led, 69-65, Detroit took control.

Taj McWilliams-Franklin led the Sun with 17 points and 13 rebounds.

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