Becky Hammon scored 17 of her season-high 37 points in the fourth quarter and the San Antonio Silver Stars beat the Los Angeles Sparks 82-65 on Tuesday to clinch the West's final playoff berth.
Hammon had 26 of her points after halftime. She shot 14 of 19 overall with four 3-pointers. Tully Bevilaqua added 11 points as San Antonio made the playoffs for the fifth straight year.
"To get into the playoffs, it's quite an accomplishment," Hammon said. "The West is brutal."
After Tina Thompson pulled the Sparks within 61-58, the Silver Stars went on a 12-0 run over the next 3:37. Hammon and Bevilaqua combined for 10 points.
Thompson had 18 points and DeLisha Milton-Jones added 16 for the Sparks, who were eliminated from postseason contention.
San Antonio lost seven of nine at one point, allowing Los Angeles to creep back into the race. A win by the Sparks would have gotten them within a game with two to play, but the Silver Stars ended the suspense.
"It was extremely important," Hammon said. "This is a very dangerous team. We wanted to come in and take care of business tonight."
For the first time in four seasons, the Sparks will be left watching at home during the WNBA playoffs.
"Here in the Sparks organization, they want championships. The city wants championships," Sparks forward DeLisha Milton-Jones said. "In that sense, it's been a down year for us."
Hammon had struggled in her last two road games, shooting 2 of 18 and scoring four points in a pair of losses at Seattle and Minnesota.
struggled in her last two road outings. She had managed just four points on 2 of 18 shooting in losses to Seattle and Minnesota.
"I was due for a big game here," Hammon said.