Charles, Loyd help Storm beat Lynx to clinch No. 4 seed
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — 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 on Friday night, spoiling Sylvia Fowles’ final regular-season home game.
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.
Fowles, who helped Minnesota win two WNBA titles, retires as the league’s career leader in field-goal percentage, rebounds and double-doubles. Fowles came out of the game with two minutes left after recording another double-double and the referees stalled so the crowd could give her a standing ovation. Fowles was also celebrated after the game during a ceremony.
Breanna had16 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.
Fowles. who passed Rebekkah Brunson for first on Minnesota’s rebounds list, finished with 13 points and 12 rebounds for Minnesota. Aerial Powers scored 12 of her 18 points in the fourth quarter and Bridget Carleton added 11 points.
MYSTICS 82, FEVER 70
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Elena Delle Donne scored 24 points to help Washington beat Indiana.
Washington (21-14) temporarily moved within a half-game of fourth-place Seattle, which later clinched the No. 4 seed in the playoffs with a win over Minnesota.
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. Alysha Clark had nine points and eight rebounds, and Shakira Austin grabbed 11 rebounds. Delle Donne was just 8-for-17 shooting but made 8 of 10 free throws.
Emily Engstler made all six of her field-goal attempts and scored a career-high 18 points for Indiana. Emma Cannon had 16 points and eight rebounds, Tiffany Mitchell scored 13 points and Nalyssa Smith added 11 points.
LIBERTY 80, DREAM 70
COLLEGE PARK, Ga. (AP) — Crystal Dangerfield scored a season-high 18 points, Betnijah Laney added 17 points and New York held off Atlanta.
New York (15-20) entered the game in a four-way tie with Minnesota, Atlanta and Phoenix for the final two playoff spots. The Liberty host the Dream (14-21) on Sunday to close the regular season.
Sabrina Ionescu had 15 points, eight rebounds and six assists, and Natasha Howard had 14 points and 12 rebounds for New York.
Erica Wheeler scored 16 points and Rhyne Howard added 13 for Atlanta. Cheyenne Parker had 13 points and McDonald scored 10.
MERCURY 86, WINGS 74
PHOENIX (AP) — Diamond DeShields scored 24 points, Shey Peddy had 18 points and a career-high eight assists, and Phoenix beat Dallas.
Phoenix (15-20) is tied with New York for seventh in the WNBA standings with one game remaining. The Mercury, who haven’t missed the playoffs since 2012, play at Chicago on Sunday, while the Liberty host Atlanta. Dallas (17-18) is locked into the No. 6 seed and plays Los Angeles on Sunday,
Sophie Cunningham scored 16 points for Phoenix, which was without Skylar Diggins-Smith and Diana Taurasi. Jennie Simms scored a career-high 14 points.
Kayla Thornton scored 14 points for Dallas, which was short-handed without Arike Ogunbowale due to a recent surgery.