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Basketball News

WNBA Repeats: Seattle Mercury, Best Place in Phoenix Mercury Retains First Place

Jewell Loyd played a try at 1:48 that increased Seattle Storm’s lead to six and thwarted a Phoenix Mercury return Sunday at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett, Wash.

The Storm (16-5) overcame 28 points from Kia Nurse with a balanced points effort and stayed in first place on the way to the Olympic break with a 82-75 victory.

The Mercury, which had upset Seattle two days earlier, had fallen to 9-10, leaving them in seventh place.

Epiphanny Prince (15 points), Katie Lou Samuelson (14), Breanna Stewart (13) and Sue Bird (13) all scored double figures for the winners.

Mercedes Russell (eight points), Loyd (eight) and Jordin Canada (seven) were not far behind. Russell dragged in ten plates while Loyd dished out six assistants. Loyd, who averaged 31.2 minutes per game, played just 21:40.

On Sunday, it was only the sixth game out of 19 that Mercury stars Brittney Griner and Skylar Diggins-Smith both scored under 20 points. Diggins-Smith had 17 and Griner (nine rebounds) had 16. Phoenix stood at 2-4 when both scored under 20 points.

Both teams were solid from outside the arc, with Seattle leading 10-out-27 and Phoenix 9-out-23.

Other action

Minnesota Lynx (12-7) over Los Angeles Sparks (6-13), 86-61

Napheesa Collier led Lynx to their seventh consecutive victory and a solid hold on fourth place with a career-high-tie 27 points to match along with seven rebounds. Meanwhile, Layshia Clarendon (14 points, eight assists) scored double figures for the sixth time in a row and scored eight plus assists for the third time in a row.

Sylvia Fowles contributed 10 points and seven rebounds to the winning cause and Damiris Dantas (eight points, eight rebounds, five assists) and Jessica Shepard (five points, seven rebounds, five assists) also made the biggest contribution.

Minnesota came in with a lead of 16 to one and with 15 entering the fourth before winning the final frame by 10. It was dominant in the field goal percentage fight (55.9 to 36.7) and went 9-out-19 from deep compared to LA’s 4-of-15 attempt. The Lynx also defeated the Sparks 37-24 and won the points in the paint battle 44-30.

Erica Wheeler had 14 points and six assists in a defeat.

It was Minnesota’s biggest win ever in Los Angeles and the first win in the City of Angels since September 6, 2016.

Indiana Fever (4-16) over Atlanta Dream (6-13), 79-68

The Fever started fourth on a 10-0 run to gain a 17-point lead. The subsequent 8-0 run from The Dream was too little too late and Indiana scored its third consecutive win after a 1-16 start.

Teaira McCowan led the fever in points (21), rebounds (14) and blocks (three), while Danielle Robinson (12 points) dished out nine assistants. Tiffany Mitchell added 14 points and eight boards and Kelsey Mitchell (11 points) and Jessica Breland (10 points) also scored double figures.

Indiana held All-Star Courtney Williams to six points and Odyssey Sims’ 20 points were not enough for Atlanta. The Dream was 1-of-13 from distance and was 49-30 out of account. The Fever won despite a minus 13 turnover.

Las Vegas Aces (15-6) over Dallas Wings (9-12), 95-79

The Aces gave themselves a chance in the first place, but the Storm took care of business.

A’ja Wilson bounced back from a 13-point performance (her second-lowest scoring of the season) with a double-double of 22 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists. The eight assistants matched a career series during her rookie year and she added three blocks.

Dearica Hamby (12 rebounds) also threw in 22 points for Vegas while Jackie Young (five assistants) and Kelsey Plum scored 17 and 16 respectively. The Aces were able to win without the second leading scorer, second leading rebounder and leading goalie Liz Cambage, who had the Australian national team’s commitments.

Vegas was five behind one, but won the second and third with 11 pieces and led by at least 13 throughout the entire fourth.

Dallas put six players in double figures. Charli Collier, who was the overall pick, scored her career with 13 points. She added eight boards in her third career game that played over 20 minutes. Allisha Gray scored 14 points and six rebounds in the defeat.

The wings struggled off the field (33.7 percent) and attempted 11 fewer free throws than the Aces. Vegas won the points in the paint battle by 50-30.

Connecticut Sun (14-6) over New York Liberty (10-11), 71-54

Jonquel Jones leads the WNBA in a setback on 11.1 boards per game, which is why she says something like a season high on the glass. The highlight of the season was Sunday 17 and the Sun took a 1.5 game lead over the Lynx for third place.

J. Jones also scored 17 points and five shots in the win, while backs Jasmine Thomas and Briann January scored 12 and 10, respectively.

However, Connecticut were more impressive in defense and scored the three best scorers in New York, Betnijah Laney (19 points per game this season), Sami Whitcomb (12.1) and Sabrina Ionescu (9.9) with three, five and zero points respectively.

Kylee Shook (6.9 points per game) was the unlikely leading scorer for the Liberty with a career high of 16 points.

Connecticut extended its lead to 18 and penetrated the fourth by winning the third by nine and leading by at least 16 in the final round.

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