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San Jose 80, New England 78

February 21, 1998

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Jennifer Azzi scored 20 points _ all in the second half _ and made two crucial free throws in the final seven seconds Friday night as the San Jose Lasers rallied for an 80-78 win over the New England Blizzard in an ABL playoff game.

Azzi scored 16 points in the fourth quarter for the Lasers, who lead the best-of-3 1-0. Game 2 is Sunday at San Jose.

New England led 63-53 late in the third quarter when Blizzard forward Carolyn Jones, the league’s second-leading scorer, was forced to the bench for nearly four minutes with a knee injury.

That’s when Azzi took over, scoring 10 straight points in a 14-4 run that tied it 67-67.

New England missed eight straight shots down the stretch before Shanda Berry’s bassket 7.9 seconds remaining cut San Jose’s lead to 78-76. Azzi, who outscored the Blizzard 16-15 in the final period, then made two free throws with 6.2 seconds left.

A putback by Jones in he final second brought the Blizzard within two, and New England got a last chance when San Jose’s Sonja Henning’s inbound pass hit the end line.

Jones, who suffered a mild knee sprain, got off a final 3-pointer but it came after the buzzer.

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