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HomeSportsNBAAces defeat Sparks in final game before Hammon's return from suspension

Aces defeat Sparks in final game before Hammon’s return from suspension

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Jackie Young scored 30 points on 12-of-18 shooting and defending WNBA champion Las Vegas took control in the third quarter en route to a 94-85 win over the Los Angeles Sparks on Thursday night.

Down 10 at halftime, Las Vegas stormed back by making 12 of 16 shots to outscore the Sparks 31-17 and take a 67-63 lead into the fourth quarter. Aja Wilson scored six-straight points before Young had consecutive layups to put the visiting Aces up 61-59 at the 2:34 mark.

Wilson finished with 19 points and 13 rebounds for Las Vegas (2-0). Chelsea Gray added 16 points and eight assists and Candance Parker 10 against the team she spent her first 13 season with.

Gray’s pullup jumper with 1:30 to play gave the Aces an 89-79 lead.

Chiney Ogwumike led the Sparks (1-1) with 19 points, Lexie Brown had 15 and three players scored 11.

The Sparks were without leader Nneka Ogwumike because of a non-COVID illness and Dearica Hamby, two months after giving birth, started in her place.

Hamby, who scored 11 points, joined L.A. in an off-season trade with Las Vegas and then she said she had been bullied and manipulated for being pregnant. That led to a WNBA investigation and a two-game suspension for Aces coach Becky Hammon, who denied the accusations.

Hammon will return to the bench when the teams have a rematch on Saturday in Las Vegas at which the Aces will receive their championship rings.

Brown made all four of her shots, including two three-pointers, and scored 10 points to help the Sparks take a 25-15 lead after one quarter.

Mercury top Lynx

Diana Taurasi had 23 points and 10 assists and the Phoenix Mercury hit 11 three-pointers in the first half on the way to a 90-81 win over the visiting Minnesota Lynx on Thursday night.

Phoenix went five of six from three-point range — with triples from five different players — to open a 27-18 lead after one quarter. The Mercury made 11 of 17 3s in the first half, taking a 57-40 lead. Taurasi had three triples and 15 points.

Taurasi finished four of nine from three-point range, giving her 1,300 threes and extending her WNBA record. Sue Bird is second with 1,001.

The Mercury made 13 of 28 behind the arc and the Lynx were three of 18.

Brittney Griner added 19 points for Phoenix (1-2), Sug Sutton had 14 off the bench and Moriah Jefferson and Sophie Cunningham both had three three-pointers and 13 points.

Aerial Powers paced the Lynx (0-3) with 20 points off the bench. Jessica Shepherd and Diamond Miller both had 13 points and Tiffany Mitchell added 12.

Canada’s Bridget Carleton added three points for the Lynx in 11 minutes of action.

Minnesota got within seven twice late in the third quarter but got no closer. The Mercury finished 21 of 23 from the foul line.

Behind Taurasi, Phoenix had 23 assists on 28 baskets.



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