Shock 74, Miracle 68
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) _ Wendy Palmer had 21 points and 14 rebounds and Jen Azzi added 27 points to lead the Detroit Shock to a 74-68 victory Saturday night over the Orlando Miracle and the first playoff berth in team history.
Orlando, which had won five straight, including a win over the Shock, needed to win to become the first first-year WNBA expansion team to make the playoffs. Instead, the Shock will host Charlotte on Tuesday in the first round.
Shannon Johnson led Orlando with 22 points, and Taj McWilliams added 17.
Detroit led for most of the first half, but the Miracle finished the half with a 12-2 run to go up 36-30. McWilliams scored the first eight points in the surge, and finished with 16 in the half.
The Shock went on a 15-2 run early in the second to take a 46-42 lead with 12:49 to go. Palmer had six of the points, and Azzi finished it with the final five.
Orlando went scoreless for more than five minutes before Tari Phillips hit two free throws with 11:21 left.
Phillips also scored the next six Miracle points, keeping Orlando in the game. Orlando went ahead 54-53 with 7:40 to go.
After the teams traded three-point plays, Palmer put Detroit back in front with a 3-pointer. Azzi’s jumper increased the margin to four, and after two free throws by Sheri Sam, Detroit scored the next three points to go up 64-59.
McWilliams split a pair of free throws, as did Azzi, leaving the margin at five with 1:12 left.
After a turnover by Orlando, Dominique Canty also split two free throws, but Val Whiting grabbed the offensive rebound. Palmer then hit two from the line to give Detroit an eight-point lead.
But Orlando scored six quick points and trailed only 70-68 with 18 seconds left. Azzi made two free throws, and Orlando turned the ball over.