WNBA: Rookie Rebecca Gardner powers Sky past Sparks

Rookie Rebekah Gardner came off the bench to register 18 points and 10 rebounds and the Chicago Sky beat the Los Angeles Sparks 80-68 Thursday night. Gardner hit 8 of 11 shots, had four offensive boards and four assists to help the Sky improve to a WNBA-best 18-6.

Fellow reserve Azura Stevens scored 14, hitting 6 of 7 shots with two 3-pointers, while Candace Parker had 11 rebounds but missed all 11 of her shots finishing with zero points for the Sky. The Sky has won three straight and eight of its last nine.

Nneka Ogwumike had 16 points and eight rebounds for Los Angeles (10-14), while Chiney Ogwumike added 14 points and 13 boards. Katie Lou Samuelson and Brittney Sykes both scored 12. The Sparks succumbed to their third straight loss.

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Diana Taurasi scored 29 points and the Phoenix Mercury rallied for an 80-75 victory over the Washington Mystics on Thursday. Taurasi sank five 3-pointers and grabbed seven rebounds for Phoenix (11-15), which trailed 26-11 after the first quarter.

Skylar Diggins-Smith added 24 and had nine assists making all eight of her free throws — the final two with 15.8 seconds left to put the game away. Elena Delle Donne finished with 19 points and 12 rebounds for Washington (15-11). Ariel Atkins had 14.

Arike Ogunbowale scored 32 points and the Dallas Wings held off the Minnesota Lynx 92-87 on Thursday night. Ogunbowale hit four 3-pointers and was 12-for-24 from the field for Dallas (11-13).

Wings saw most of a 21-point halftime lead disappear as Minnesota (9-16) stormed back in the third quarter behind reserve Rachel Banham and Sylvia Fowles. Banham scored 16 of her 24 points in the final 4:30 of the fourth quarter.

Fowles — who finished with 17 rebounds — scored 10 of her 20 points in the period and the Lynx closed within 62-57 by quarter’s end. Allisha Gray, who scored 17, and Ogunbowale both hit two free throws in the final 17.6 seconds to preserve the win.

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