September 18, 2021

WNBA: Taurasi shines as Mercury trump Aces

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Diana Taurasi supplied 22 points and 10 assists as the Phoenix Mercury never trailed in a 102-95 win over the Las Vegas Aces on Friday night. 

Friday night’s WNBA scores

  • Las Vegas Aces 95-102 Phoenix Mercury
  • New York Liberty 78-84 Atlanta Dream
  • Indiana Fever 73-76 Dallas Wings

Las Vegas Aces 95-102 Phoenix Mercury

Brittney Griner of the Phoenix Mercury drives to the basket against the Las Vegas Aces 1:04
Highlights of the Las Vegas Aces’ game against the Phoenix Mercury in the WNBA

Diana Taurasi had 22 points and 10 assists while Skylar Diggins-Smith scored 22 points as the Phoenix Mercury never trailed in a 102-95 win over the Las Vegas Aces on Friday night.

Brittney Griner had 18 points, seven rebounds and three steals, Bria Hartley scored 15 points and Sophie Cunningham 11 for Phoenix (1-2).

Angel McCoughtry scored 18 points and A’ja Wilson had 17 points, eight rebounds and three steals for Las Vegas (1-2).

Phoenix led by 23 points midway through the second quarter, but the Aces closed the half with a 14-2 run to make it 50-41 and then held the Mercury scoreless for four-plus minutes during a 9-0 spurt that made it 56-all when McCoughtry hit a jumper with 5:33 left in the third quarter.

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Brianna Turner answered with a lay-up and Cunningham had a steal and a lay-up to spark a 14-2 run that gave Phoenix the lead for good and made it 70-58 when Taurasi hit a three-pointer about four minutes later.

Taurasi and Diggins-Smith each hit four of the Mercury’s 11 three-pointers. Phoenix had 30 assists on 38 field goals, shot 57 per cent overall and 55 per cent from behind the arc.

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Las Vegas guard Lindsay Allen was ruled out of the game after she had an inconclusive positive test for coronavirus. According to the Aces, the safety procedures outlined by the WNBA and the players union require an inconclusive positive to be treated as a positive until the person has two negative tests in a row 24 hours apart. She is currently isolating away from the bubble at IMG Academy.

New York Liberty 78-84 Atlanta Dream

Elizabeth Williams of the Atlanta Dream shoots the ball against the New York Liberty 1:14
Highlights of the New York Liberty’s game against the Atlanta Dream in the WNBA

Betnijah Laney scored a career-high 30 points as the Atlanta Dream beat New York 84-78 in a game in which the Liberty lost top draft pick Sabrina Ionescu to an ankle injury in the second quarter.

Rookie Chennedy Carter added 17 points and Monique Billings had eight points and 15 rebounds for Atlanta.

Laney’s three-pointer with two minutes left in the third quarter gave Atlanta a 14-point lead – their biggest of the game – but New York (0-3) chipped away, trimming their deficit to 73-71 when Layshia Clarendon made a short jumper with 2:45 to play. Carter answered with a pull-up jumper and then Billings made two free throws and the Liberty got no closer.

Rookie Jazmine Jones scored a season-high 20 points to lead New York and Clarendon scored 16. Ionescu, the No 1 pick in April’s draft, left in the second quarter due to an ankle injury and did not return. She had 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting in 12 minutes.

Laney made a pull-up jumper to pull Atlanta within two at half-time and then the Dream scored the first 13 second-half points to make it 54-43 midway through the third quarter.

Indiana Fever 73-76 Dallas Wings

Arike Ogunbowale of the Dallas Wings shoots the ball against the Indiana Fever 0:55
Highlights of the Indiana Fever’s game against the Dallas Wings in the WNBA

Satou Sabally had season-highs of 23 points and 17 rebounds and made critical plays down the stretch as the Dallas Wings overcame a 14-point, third-quarter deficit to beat the Indiana Fever 76-73.

Arike Ogunbowale scored 15 points and Kayla Thornton added 11 for the Wings (2-1).

Candice Dupree and Tiffany Mitchell led Indiana (1-2) with 11 points apiece.

Satou Sabally attacks the basket against Indiana
Image: Satou Sabally attacks the basket against Indiana

Sabally scored seven points in a 14-3 run that trimmed Dallas’ deficit to 64-62 when she converted a three-point play early in the fourth quarter.

Stephanie Mavunga’s lay-up pushed Indiana’s lead to six with 3:41 to play. Tyasha Harris made 1-of-2 free throws to make it 74-73 with 1:24 left and give the Wings their first lead since early in the second quarter. After the teams each had two empty possessions, Sabally blocked a layup attempt by Kelsey Mitchell and then hit two free throws to cap the scoring.

Tiffany Mitchell missed a potential tying three-pointer that was tightly contested by Sabally at the buzzer.

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