UConn alumni and WNBA legend Sue Bird was in the center of attention as she played her final game in Connecticut in what was announced to be the official Sue Bird Day in the city. UConn star’s last scheduled night playing in the state was spoiled by the Connecticut Sun.
Alyssa Thomas scored 19 points and dished out 11 assists to lead Connecticut over the Seattle Storm 88-83. Brionna Jones added 13 points, and Courtney Williams and DeWanna Bonner each had 12 for the Sun (20-9).
Bird finished with 14 points and seven assists for the Storm (18-11) in front of a sell-out crowd. Two other former UConn stars, Breanna Stewart and Gabby Williams led Seattle with 17 and 16 points respectively.
Bird played 30 miles north at UConn from 1998-2002, leading the Huskies to two of the program’s 11 NCAA championships. Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont declared Thursday “Sue Bird Day” in Connecticut.
Diana Taurasi scored 30 points, Skylar Diggins-Smith added 27 and the Phoenix Mercury cruised past to a 90-80 victory over the Los Angeles Sparks. Shey Peddy scored 12 as the Mercury won their second straight and moved into third place in the Western Conference.
Taurasi hit five 3-pointers and added six rebounds, while Diggins-Smith grabbed five rebounds with six assists for Phoenix (13-16). Chennedy Carter led the Sparks (12-16) with a season-high 23 points. Nneka Ogwumike had 19 points.
Los Angeles has lost two straight and five of its last seven games. Taurasi and Diggins-Smith teamed up to score the first 16 points in the second quarter as Phoenix pushed its lead to 42-22 at the 6:22 mark and never looked back.
Natasha Cloud and Ariel Atkins combined for 18 points and the Washington Mystics rolled to an 87-77 victory over the Dallas Wings. The Mystics used a 32-point second quarter to turn a 24-14 lead into a 56-36 advantage at halftime.
Cloud had seven assists and Atkins handed out six for Washington (18-11). The Mystics have won three straight and five of their last six. Teaira McCowan had season highs of 27 points and 11 rebounds to lead Dallas (12-16), which fell to 5-9 at home.
Arike Ogunbowale added 19 points and six boards, while Allisha Gray scored 12. Washington shot 56.4% from the floor, including 9 of 15 from 3-point range, while Dallas shot 38.4 and sank just 16 of 27 free throws.
Aerial Powers scored 25 points and the Minnesota Lynx took advantage of a strong start to beat the Atlanta Dream 92-85 Thursday night. Moriah Jefferson finished with 14 points and seven assists for Minnesota (11-19), which ended a three-game skid.
Powers had 10 points and Minnesota shot 65.6 percent, including 4 of 6 from 3-point range, to take a 49-29 lead at halftime. Atlanta (12-17) outscored the Lynx 40-27 in the final quarter but it wasn’t enough to get back in the game.
Tiffany Hayes scored 24 to lead the Dream, Rhyne Howard added 18 points, while Cheyenne Parker scored 14 with six rebounds. Sylvia Fowles had 12 points and 14 rebounds, while Kayla McBride scored 11 for the winning side.