WNBA: Liberty remains alive in playoff race; Storm clinches playoff berth

Crystal Dangerfield scored a season-high 18 points, Betnijah Laney added 17 points and the New York Liberty held off to an 80-70 victory over the Atlanta Dream to remain alive in the WNBA playoff race. Liberty shot 63.6% from the field in the first quarter.

The Liberty (15-20) entered the game in a four-way tie with Minnesota, Atlanta and Phoenix for the final two playoff spots. The Liberty led by as many as 22 points, but Atlanta scored nine of the opening 10 points of the fourth quarter to get to 71-60.

Sabrina Ionescu had 15 points, eight rebounds and six assists, and Natasha Howard had 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Liberty. Wheeler scored 16 points and Rhyne Howard added 13 for Atlanta. Cheyenne Parker had 13 points and McDonald scored 10.

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Tina Charles had 23 points and nine rebounds, Jewell Loyd scored 21 points and the Seattle Storm secured the No. 4 seed in the WNBA playoffs with a 96-69 victory over the Minnesota Lynx Friday night.

Seattle (22-13), which closes the season on Sunday against first-place Las Vegas, will host a first-round series next week against the Washington Mystics. Minnesota (14-21) plays at Connecticut on Sunday, hoping for the final playoff spot.

Stewart finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds and Briann January added 11 points for Seattle. Loyd set a franchise record with her 73rd 3-pointer of the season, passing Sue Bird’s 72 in 2016.

This was the final regular season home game for Lynx and WNBA legend Sylvia Fowles. Fowles, who helped Minnesota win two WNBA titles, retires as the league’s career leader in field-goal percentage, rebounds and double-doubles.

Diamond DeShields scored 24 points, Shey Peddy had 18 points and a career-high eight assists, and the Phoenix Mercury beat the Dallas Wings 86-74 on Friday night. Phoenix (15-20) is tied with New York for seventh in the WNBA standings with one game remaining.

Sophie Cunningham made four 3-pointers and scored 16 points for Phoenix, which was without Skylar Diggins-Smith and Diana Taurasi. Simms scored a career-high 14 points. Dallas was also short-handed without Arike Ogunbowale due to a recent surgery.

Kayla Thornton scored 14 points for Dallas. Allisha Gray added 13 points and Marina Mabrey had 10. The Mercury, who haven’t missed the playoffs since 2012, play at Chicago on Sunday Dallas (17-18) is locked into the No. 6 seed and plays Los Angeles Sunday.

Elena Delle Donne scored 24 points to help the Washington Mystics beat the Indiana Fever 82-70. Washington (21-14) will likely be the 5th seed after the Storm beat the Minnesota Lynx in a later game last night.

Indiana (5-29) closes the regular season on Sunday against the Mystics, trying to snap a 17-game losing streak. Elizabeth Williams added 10 points for Washington. Clark had nine points and eight rebounds, and Shakira Austin grabbed 11 rebounds.

Emily Engstler made all six of her field-goal attempts and scored a career-high 18 points for Indiana, snapping her streak of 24 straight games scoring in single figures. Washington made just three of its first 17 3-pointers but was able to cruise to victory.


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