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Pro basketball

Seattle routs Connecticut for WNBA title

By wire services
Published October 13, 2004

SEATTLE - Betty Lennox had another huge night, scoring 23 points to lead the Seattle Storm to their first title with a 74-60 victory over the Connecticut Sun Tuesday.

Lauren Jackson added 13 points and seven rebounds and Seattle got a big contribution from Kamila Vodichkova, who scored 14 points after being held to a total of seven in the first two games of the finals.

The Storm claimed the city's first major professional sports championship in 25 years, going back to the SuperSonics winning the 1979 NBA title. It also gave Seattle coach Anne Donovan her first WNBA crown, having missed in 2001 with Charlotte.

"It feels great to win a championship," Donovan said.

Donovan is the first female coach to win a WNBA title, following Houston's Van Chancellor (1997-2000), Los Angeles' Michael Cooper (2001-02) and Detroit's Bill Laimbeer (2003).

Lennox, who scored 27 in Seattle's Game 2 victory that evened the best-of-three series, kept her momentum going in the decisive third game. She couldn't seem to miss in the second half.

Fans chanted, "Betty, Betty, Betty" when Lennox stepped to the free throw line with 2:35 remaining. She made both shots capping a 33-12 run that stretched Seattle's lead to an insurmountable 71-56.

They changed it to "M-V-P, M-V-P" when she returned to the line with 1:40 to go, and the fans got what they wanted moments later when WNBA commissioner Val Ackerman told the sellout crowd of 17,072 that Lennox was MVP.

"I'm speechless," Lennox said after accepting the award.

Lennox got a huge cheer when she left the game with 1:11 remaining, getting a smothering hug from Donovan and then making her way cheerfully down the Seattle bench.

"We're not a one-person team or a two-person team," said Seattle's Sue Bird, who scored eight points.

Connecticut's Nykesha Sales, who scored a Finals-record 32 points in Seattle's Game 2 victory, shot 5-of-12 and was held to 18 points. The rest of the Sun starters combined for only 26 points on 7-of-31 shooting.

Hill plays 16 minutes in Magic's preseason loss

ORLANDO - Stromile Swift scored 16 points to lead the Grizzlies to a 99-95 victory over the Magic in the preseason opener.

Grant Hill, attempting a comeback from a fourth surgery on his bad left ankle, looked fine in 16 minutes, although he had only two points in his first action since January 2003.

The Magic almost sent the game into overtime, but Steve Francis' jumper was short, and Brian Cardinal sank two free throws to seal the victory.

[Last modified October 13, 2004, 00:39:22]


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