Sun top Mercury, clinch top seed in WNBA playoffs
PHOENIX (AP) — Jasmine Thomas scored 17 points, Jonquel Jones added 12 points and 16 rebounds and Connecticut beat the Phoenix Mercury 76-67 on Saturday night to clinch the No. 1 seed in WNBA playoffs.
Connecticut (24-6), which has won 12 consecutive games, snapped the Mercury’s 10-game win streak. It was just the second matchup ever of teams with win streaks of 10-plus games. Minnesota and Los Angeles met in 2016 when both were undefeated.
Phoenix (19-11) fell into fifth in the WNBA standings, a half-game behind Minnesota. The top four seeds earn a first-round bye.
Brittney Griner made a short jumper to pull the Mercury within two early in the fourth quarter but Natasha Heideman answered with a 3-pointer to spark an 11-4 run capped when Jones made a layup that made it 70-61 with 2:28 to play.
Griner had 23 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks to lead Phoenix. She missed a 15-foot jumper early in the second quarter but Brianna Turner grabbed the offensive rebound and then hit Griner cutting toward the basket for a one-handed dunk. The two-time WNBA scoring champion has a career-high four dunks this season and has 16 of the 19 regular-season dunks in league history.
WINGS 77, LIBERTY 76
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Marina Mabrey scored 21 points, Allisha Gray had 13 points, 11 rebounds and a game-sealing block, and the Wings beat the Liberty to clinch a playoff spot.
Dallas (13-17) sits in seventh, while New York (11-19) trails the Washington Mystics by a half-game for the final playoff spot.
Mabrey and Kayla Thornton combined to score 16 of the Wings’ 21 fourth-quarter points.
Natasha Howard pulled New York within one with 29.4 seconds left and she grabbed a defensive rebound after Arike Ogunbowale missed at the other end. Sabrina Ionescu got Gray in the air on a pump fake, but Gray recovered to block the shot as time expired.
Betnijah Laney scored 19 points and Howard had 16 points and 11 rebounds for New York. Ionescu had 18 points, eight rebounds and six assists.
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