SKY START FAST, ROLL PAST HOST WINGS
Kahleah Copper and Courtney Williams scored 25 points each as the visiting Chicago Sky rolled to a 104-89 win over the Dallas Wings on Friday in Arlington, Texas, in the first of a two-game mini-series between the teams.
The Sky’s victory overshadowed the first career triple-double for Dallas’ Natasha Howard, who amassed 28 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists in a losing cause.
Chicago and Dallas will square off on Sunday for third and final time this season with the Sky looking for the sweep in the three-game series.
The Sky (11-15) led by 10 at halftime and by 16 heading into the final quarter and cruised to the wire, winning — and scoring 100 points — for their second straight game. Alanna Smith added 20 points — 18 of those in a rousing first half for Chicago — and Marina Mabrey hit for 16.
Satou Sabally scored 18 points, Arike Ogunbowale had 11 and Maddy Siegrist tallied 10 for Dallas. It was the fourth time this season — and second in the past four games — that the Wings (15-12) allowed more than 100 points in a contest.
The Sky broke away from a 5-5 tie with an 11-2 run that was capped by a layup by Smith that granted Chicago a 16-7 lead at the 4:47 mark of the first quarter. Mabrey’s 2-pointer with 44 seconds to play in the period pushed the Sky’s advantage to 11 points before a bucket and a 3-pointer by Howard allowed Dallas to close to within 26-20 after 10 minutes of play.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Copper expanded Chicago’s lead to 55-41 with 1:30 remaining in the second period. The Wings closed to within seven points on Teaira McCown’s layup with 26 seconds remaining in the quarter before three free throws by Copper with 9 seconds left staked Chicago to a 58-48 lead at the break.
Copper and Smith scored 18 points each to lead the Sky, which outshot Dallas 59.5 to 48.8 percent in the first half. Howard matched that output with 18 points but the rest of the Wings starters scored a combined 18 points before halftime.
SABRINA IONESCU, LIBERTY AVENGE LOSS TO LYNX
Sabrina Ionescu scored 12 of her 18 points in the second half and Jonquel Jones had 15 points and 17 rebounds to lead the New York Liberty to a 76-66 victory Friday over the host Minnesota Lynx.
New York (21-6) avenged an 88-83 loss last week at home against the Lynx (13-15).
The Liberty, who have a six-game winning streak on the road, have won 11 of their last 13 games.
Ionescu made 6 of 11 shots from 3-point range and tallied five rebounds, six assists and three steals.
Breanna Stewart finished with 17 points and eight rebounds and Betnijah Laney had 17 points.
Courtney Vandersloot contributed seven assists.
Minnesota has lost consecutive games after winning three straight, including the win over the Liberty last week.
Napheesa Collier led the Lynx with 18 points and Kayla McBride added 14.
Jessica Shepard had 11 rebounds for Minnesota.
Neither team led by more than six points and there were 11 ties and 12 lead changes by the fourth quarter.
After the Liberty took a 39-33 lead with 3:02 left in the second, Minnesota went on an 11-2 run extending into the third. The Lynx led 44-41 with 9:48 remaining in the period.
Nine points in the third from Ionescu, who made all three of her 3-point attempts, kept New York in a back-and-forth affair with Minnesota.
The Liberty took a 58-56 lead into the fourth after Ionescu made a shot from beyond the arc with 1.5 seconds left in the third.
Ionescu made another 3-pointer with 9:29 remaining to increase the lead to 61-56.
New York took its biggest lead of seven points — 64-57 – with 7:46 left following one of two free-throw attempts made by Jonquel Jones.
Stewart’s layup with 5:35 left increased the lead to 68-59.
New York outrebounded Minnesota 43-32. The Liberty tallied 16 offensive rebounds that contributed to 25 second-chance points.
TIANNA HAWKINS, MYSTICS SNAP SLIDE BY BEATING SPARKS
Tianna Hawkins scored 17 points to help the short-handed Washington Mystics snap their longest losing streak of the season with a 79-77 win over the visiting Los Angeles Sparks on Friday.
Hawkins was one of five double-digit scorers for the Mystics (13-13), who got 15 points from Queen Egbo off the bench, 11 from Shatori Walker-Kimbrough and 10 apiece from Natasha Cloud and reserve Li Meng.
Brittney Sykes energized Washington with eight points, eight assists, seven rebounds and four steals against her former team.
The Mystics played without two-time MVP Elena Delle Donne, who missed her eighth consecutive game since spraining her ankle in Washington’s 92-84 loss at Connecticut on July 9.
Ariel Atkins (ankle), Shakira Austin (hip) and Kristi Toliver (foot) were also out for the Mystics, who had lost three straight and five of six overall entering Friday’s game.
Azura Stevens supplied 19 points and went 3-for-4 from 3-point range for the Sparks (9-18) in their 11th loss in 13 games. Nneka Ogwumike hit for 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Jordin Canada posted eight rebounds and seven assists but scored just eight points on a dreary 1-for-7 shooting effort.
Dearica Hamby (14) and Zia Cooke (10) provided 24 of Los Angeles’ 29 bench points.
Washington entered the fourth quarter ahead 58-53 and led 69-59 after Hawkins’ 3-pointer with 6:26 to play before the Sparks surged back behind eight points from Ogwumike and clawed within 75-73 on Stevens’ layup with 1:45 to play.
Cooke’s block gave Los Angeles possession and a chance to tie, but Canada lost the handle on the ensuing possession and Hawkins finished on the other end to give the Mystics a 77-73 edge with 39 seconds left.
Stevens split a pair of free throws before she made a long 3-pointer that made it 79-77 with 3 seconds remaining, but the Mystics quickly inbounded and dribbled out the clock to improve to 9-4 at home this season.
Hawkins led Washington with 12 first-half points as the Mystics held a 48-40 lead at the break. Stevens didn’t miss a shot in the first half for the Sparks, going 4-for-4 from the field and 3-for-3 from the free-throw line to pace Los Angeles with 13 points.
The teams meet in Washington again on Sunday.
SUN RIDE BALANCED ATTACK TO ROUT OF FEVER
Six Connecticut players scored in double figures on Friday night and the Sun led by double figures for the final 29 1/2 minutes of an 88-72 win over the Indiana Fever in Indianapolis.
Tiffany Hayes led the Sun (20-7) with 18 points, while DeWanna Bonner added 14. Alyssa Thomas came up shy of her third straight triple-double, winding up with 11 points, eight assists and seven rebounds after producing the first 20-20-10 triple-double in league history on Tuesday night.
DiJonai Carrington tallied 11 points for Connecticut, while Natisha Hiedeman and Olivia Nelson-Ododa each contributed 10 points. Nelson-Ododa also grabbed 10 rebounds and registered a plus-20 rating off the bench. Connecticut canned 49.2 percent of its field-goal attempts and produced a 32-25 advantage on the boards.
The Sun won for the fifth time in six games.
Rookie Aliyah Boston scored a game-high 19 points and grabbed eight rebounds for Indiana (7-20), but it wasn’t enough to prevent the Fever’s 13th loss in 15 games. Kelsey Mitchell added 13, Erica Wheeler netted 12 points and Emma Cannon contributed 11.
The Fever shot poorly, netting only 38.6 percent of their field-goal attempts, and coughed up 19 turnovers. The Sun enjoyed a 40-20 advantage in points in the paint, consistently generating easier looks with good passing.
Connecticut needed about half of the first quarter to get into gear. Once it did, it produced an 11-0 run to take the lead for good and scored a whopping 24 points in the final 5:46 of the period to take a 31-22 advantage.
Things only got more lopsided in the second quarter as the Sun kept converting while Indiana kept missing. The margin reached 56-30 in the final minute on a 3-pointer by Tyasha Harris and was 56-33 at halftime.
The Fever made a big push for the first eight minutes of the third quarter, taking advantage of sloppiness by Connecticut. A six-point possession pulled the hosts within 65-54 at the 2:12 mark before the Sun ripped off the last nine points of the period. Thomas assisted Rebecca Allen for a layup to restore a 20-point lead at the quarter’s end.