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McWilliams-Franklin powers Shock back to WNBA Finals

Sep 30, 2008 - 1:55 AM YPSILANTI, Michigan (Ticker) -- Veteran forward Taj McWilliams-Franklin scored 15 of her 19 points in the second half as the Detroit Shock held off the New York Liberty, 75-73, in the decisive Game Three of the Eastern Conference finals on Monday.

Deanna Nolan scored 21 points and Katie Smith added 16 for Detroit, which returned to the WNBA Finals for the third straight year. The Shock will square off with the San Antonio Silver Stars, who edged the Los Angeles Sparks in Game Three of the Western Conference finals on Sunday.

The owners of the best record in the regular season, the Silver Stars will be playing in their first Finals, which will begin in San Antonio on Wednesday.

Left shorthanded inside after the mid-season knee injury to top-notch forward Cheryl Ford, the Shock acquired McWilliams-Franklin in a trade with Washington in August. A two-time participant in the Finals with the Connecticut Sun from 2004-05, McWilliams-Franklin stepped up Monday, shooting 7-of-11 from the field and grabbing eight rebounds.

The play of McWilliams-Franklin helped stem the tide as New York attempted to rally from a 20-point deficit in the first half.

The Liberty drew within two points early in the fourth quarter but failed to pull ahead.

Janel McCarville scored 21 points for New York, which managed just eight points in the first quarter.