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HomeSportsNBAMystics top Dream in nail-biter to climb to top of WNBA standings

Mystics top Dream in nail-biter to climb to top of WNBA standings

Ariel Atkins scored 18 points, Natasha Cloud added 17 and the Washington Mystics erased a double-digit deficit in the second-half to beat the Atlanta Dream 78-73 on Friday night.

There were two ties and three lead changes in the final 2 1/2 minutes, the last of which came when Tianna Hawkins made two free throws to give the Mystics a 74-73 lead with 41.5 seconds left. After Atlanta’s Rhyne Howard missed a jumper, Cloud made two foul shots and Atkins stole a pass and added two more free throws to cap the scoring with 19 seconds remaining.

Howard hit four 3-pointers and led Atlanta (4-2) with 21 points. The No. 1 selection in last month’s draft, Howard is averaging 20.5 points while shooting 46.7 per cent from behind the arc. Her 21 made 3s through six career games are second in WNBA history. Ruthie Bolton had 23 for the Sacramento Monarchs in 1997.

Cheyenne Parker scored 13 points, Nia Coffey had 12 points and 10 rebounds, and Erica Wheeler added 11 points for the Dream.

Hawkins added 11 points for Washington (5-1) and rookie Shakira Austin had 10 points, seven rebounds and three steals.

Atlanta scored 10 consecutive points to take a 56-46 lead when Wheeler hit a 3-pointer midway through the third quarter. The Mystics responded with an 11-0 run soon after.

Jones powers Sun over Fever

Jonquel Jones scored 19 points and the Connecticut Sun beat the Indiana Fever 94-85 on Friday night for their third straight victory.

DeWanna Bonner had 18 points and Alyssa Thomas added 17 for Connecticut (3-1), which put six players in double figures. DiJonai Carrington and Brionna Jones scored 11 apiece, while Natisha Heideman finished with 10.

The Sun have won by an average margin of more than 17 points since a season-opening loss to the New York Liberty.

There were four ties and 10 lead changes before Heideman converted a three-point play and followed 37 seconds later with a 3-pointer to make 48-43. The Sun led the rest of the way.

Kelsey Mitchell scored 23 points on 9-of-13 shooting for Indiana (2-5). Victoria Vivians scored 15 points and Danielle Robinson had 10.

NaLyssa Smith, the No. 2 overall selection in last month’s draft, did not play for the Fever. She was listed as a game-time decision but missed her second consecutive game due to a right ankle injury.

Indiana, which went into the game 11th in the 12-team WNBA at 39.9 per cent, shot a season-high 54 per cent (34 of 63) and limited the Sun shot just 43.7 per cent (31 of 71). Connecticut hit 11 of 19 from 3-point range, outscored the Fever 21-11 from the free throw line and grabbed 11 offensive rebounds.

Stewart pours in 28 points as Storm defeat Sparks

Breanna Stewart scored 28 points on 11-of-20 shooting and the Seattle Storm held on for an 83-80 victory over the Los Angeles Sparks on Friday night.

Ezi Magbegor had nine points, 11 rebounds, three blocks and two steals. Jewell Loyd added 11 points for the Storm (3-3) and has reached double-figure scoring in 155 games since 2016 — most in the WNBA.

Stephanie Talbot hit a 3-pointer to give Seattle, which never trailed, a 41-23 lead with 6:15 left in the second quarter. The Storm took a 16-point lead when Sue Bird made a 3 early in the second half and it was 79-69 when Stewart made a jumper with 3:27 to play.

Liz Cambage scored four points during an 8-0 run by the Sparks but Stewart answered with a driving layup and, after Cambage slipped a pass between two defenders to Nneka Ogwumike for an easy basket, Bird hit two free throws to make it 83-79 with 45.5 seconds left.

Ogwumike missed a clean look at a potential tying corner 3 as time expired.

Cambage led Los Angeles with 25 points and eight rebounds. Ogwumike added 20 points and Brittney Sykes scored 10.

Seattle made 29 field goals and had 27 assists.

The Sparks (2-4) have lost four in a row after back-to-back wins to start the season — including 98-91 win over the Chicago Sky, the 2021 WNBA champions, in the opener.

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