WNBA: Fever grab first win, Liberty bounce back

Field Level Media/Reuters

Posted at May 24 2021 09:12 AM

WNBA: Fever grab first win, Liberty bounce back 1
Indiana Fever players celebrate during the game against the Washington Mystics on May 23, 2021 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. Ron Hoskins, NBAE via Getty Images/AFP

Kelsey Mitchell had 18 points to lead a balanced attack and the Indiana Fever won their first game this season by downing the Washington Mystics, 89-77, in Indianapolis on Sunday.

Teaira McCowan and Jessica Breland contributed 17 points and 10 rebounds apiece and also combined for eight assists for the Fever (1-4). 

Danielle Robinson added 13 points and six assists for Indiana, which pulled away by outscoring Washington 27-13 in the third quarter. Victoria Vivians chipped in 11 points off the bench as the Fever shot 51.6 percent from the field.

Tina Charles led Washington (1-3) with 31 points and nine rebounds. Ariel Atkins supplied 16 points and four assists, while Erica McCall added 10 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Washington was held to 38.6 percent shooting.

Indiana led 20-17 after the first quarter and 42-39 at halftime. McCowan topped the Fever with 12 points and seven rebounds before the break.

Indiana had a 12-point lead with 3:38 remaining in the half when Breland made a layup. The Mystics finished it with a 13-4 run, using the long ball to get back in the game. Charles started it with a 3-pointer and Atkins knocked down a pair during that span.

Washington took the lead 45-44 with 8:11 left in the third when Charles made another 3-pointer. The Fever roared back as Mitchell scored eight points during a 15-2 run. Mitchell hit two 3-pointers during that stretch and Robinson capped it off with a steal and a fast-break layup to make it 59-47.

The Fever also scored the last four points of the quarter and carried a 69-52 lead into the fourth quarter.

The Mystics pulled within 72-63 midway through the fourth when Charles made two free throws. The Fever refused to allow Washington to get any closer, as they answered every Mystics score with one of their own.

McCall's layup with 1:11 remaining made it an eight-point game again at 85-77, but Indiana then closed out the much-needed victory with four free throws.

-- Sabrina Ionescu paces Liberty past Sky --

Sabrina Ionescu finished with 19 points and 12 assists as the visiting New York Liberty posted a 93-85 win over the Chicago Sky on Sunday afternoon.

Betnijah Laney scored 20 points and Rebecca Allen added 13 off the bench for the Liberty (4-1).

Both teams shot well throughout the game. The Liberty made 14 of 28 attempts from 3-point range while the Sky (2-1) sank 6 of 12 shots from beyond the arc.

In the end, bench points proved to be the difference. The Liberty scored 21 bench points while the Sky only notched eight.

The Sky didn't get the performance they're used to getting from star player Kahleah Copper, who scored just nine points. She averaged 21.0 points per game going into Sunday's matchup.

Diamond DeShields scored 22 points and Astou Ndour and Courtney Vandersloot added 17 and 14, respectively, for Chicago.

Bench player Jazmine Jones ended the third quarter by sinking the Liberty's 14th 3-pointer of the game. That gave New York a 76-72 lead and set the tone for what would be a decisive final quarter for the Liberty.

DeShields played her best in clutch moments, drawing a big foul late and getting to the rim for multiple crucial layups.

In the end, the combination of Ionescu and Laney proved to be too much for the Sky defense. With 2:32 left, Laney converted a momentum-shifting layup, firing up her teammates and giving the Liberty a 88-81 lead.

The game got closer late, but a turnover off the leg of DeShields shut the door on any chances of a Sky comeback. Ionescu impressed throughout, playing better than her final numbers suggest. She delivered great passes that were not capitalized on multiple times.

-- DeWanna Bonner, Sun stay perfect with win over Aces --

DeWanna Bonner totaled 22 points and seven rebounds, Jonquel Jones had 19 points and 11 rebounds and the Connecticut Sun remained unbeaten through five games with a 72-65 win over the host Las Vegas Aces on Sunday.

Brionna Jones added 19 points and Jasmine Thomas contributed seven points, nine rebounds and five assists for the Sun. Connecticut (5-0) matched its best start to a campaign since the 2018 season.

A'ja Wilson paced the Aces with 14 points and seven rebounds. Chelsea Gray had 13 points and five assists, Dearica Hamby scored 12 and Liz Cambage totaled 10 points and seven boards for Las Vegas (2-2).

Wilson's layup with 48.6 seconds left in the fourth quarter brought the Aces within 67-65. Bonner hit a dagger 3-pointer with 38.6 seconds on the clock and later sealed the win with a pair of free throws.

Trailing by six at the break, the Sun reclaimed control with a 23-point third quarter while holding the Aces to 10.

Cambage scored her 2,000th career point on a layup with 6:17 remaining in the third to put the Aces up 39-33.

The Sun responded with 17 unanswered points as Brionna Jones' three-point play with 2:46 left capped the surge and gave Connecticut its biggest lead at 50-39.

Connecticut jumped out to an 18-8 lead after one quarter. Las Vegas got hot in the second and outscored the visitors 25-9 to take a 33-27 advantage at halftime.

The game was a rematch of last year's semifinal playoff series in which the Aces eliminated the Suns in five games.

Connecticut returns to action on Tuesday night at Seattle. Las Vegas will be on the road to face Phoenix on Wednesday night.


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