WNBA: Storm top Mercury, Fever earn third straight win

Field Level Media/Reuters

Posted at Jul 12 2021 12:46 PM

WNBA: Storm top Mercury, Fever earn third straight win 1
Breanna Stewart #30 talks with Sue Bird #10 of the Seattle Storm during the game against the Las Vegas Aces on May 15, 2021 at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett, WA. File photo. Joshua Huston, NBAE via Getty Images/AFP.

Epiphanny Prince scored 15 points to lead a balanced scoring effort as the host Seattle Storm held off the short-handed Phoenix Mercury 82-75 on Sunday.

Katie Lou Samuelson added 14 points and Sue Bird and Breanna Stewart scored 13 each for the Storm (16-5), who took the WNBA's best record into the All-Star and Olympic break.

Kia Nurse scored 28, Skylar Diggins-Smith had 17 and Brittney Griner 16 for the Mercury (9-10), who used just seven players and were outscored 26-2 in bench points.

Diana Taurasi missed her third consecutive game because of a hip injury and her replacement, Sophie Cunningham, was sidelined after entering the concussion protocol when hit in the face during a victory against the visiting Storm on Friday.

Phoenix coach Sandy Brondello also missed the game for personal reasons, and assistant Julie Hairgrove served as head coach.

Bird made two 3-pointers and Jewell Loyd and Stewart made one each during a 15-2 run at the outset of the third quarter that gave Seattle a 59-41 lead.

Phoenix got as close as seven before Prince's 3-pointer gave the Storm a 66-56 lead at the end of the period.

Nurse made two 3-pointers to help the Mercury pull within 75-72 with 2:18 left.

Loyd answered with a 3-pointer and Bird added a basket that gave the Storm an 80-72 lead with 43.9 seconds left and put the game away.

Nurse scored eight points to help Phoenix grab a 23-21 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The Storm scored the first 11 points of the second quarter as Phoenix went scoreless for the first 3 1/2 minutes.

Diggins-Smith ended the drought by making a 3-pointer and the Mercury got within six points once more before Seattle built a 40-28 lead. Griner scored four points and added an assist to help Phoenix cut the deficit to 44-39 at halftime.

-- Last-place Fever beat Dream to earn third straight win --

All five Indiana Fever starters scored in double figures, led by Teaira McCowan's 21 points and 14 rebounds, in a 79-68 win Sunday over the host Atlanta Dream that gave Indiana its third straight win before the Olympic break after a 1-16 start.

The Fever (4-16) have the momentum of consecutive wins over the Connecticut Sun, New York Liberty and Atlanta going into the break. The season will not resume until Aug. 15.

Atlanta (6-13) has lost seven of its last eight games and 11 of its last 13 going into the break.

Tiffany Mitchell had 14 points and eight rebounds and Danielle Robinson added 12 points and nine assists. Kelsey Mitchell also had 11 points and Jessica Breland 10 for Indiana.

Odyssey Sims (20 points) and Crystal Bradford (14) were the only scorers in double figures for Atlanta.

-- Napheesa Collier, Lynx rout Sparks for 7th straight win --

Napheesa Collier matched her career high of 27 points and also collected seven rebounds as the Minnesota Lynx pushed their winning streak to seven games with a convincing 86-61 victory over the host Los Angeles Sparks on Sunday night.

Layshia Clarendon recorded 14 points and eight assists, and Sylvia Fowles added 10 points, seven rebounds and three blocked shots for the Lynx (12-7), who led by as many as 28 points. Bridget Carleton also had 10 points for Minnesota, which won its fifth straight road contest.

Erica Wheeler and Brittney Sykes scored 14 points apiece for the Sparks (6-13), who dropped their sixth straight game. Amanda Zahui B added 10 points.

Los Angeles was once again without Nneka Ogwumike (knee), Chiney Ogwumike (knee) and Kristi Tolver (eye).

The Lynx played without 2020 WNBA Rookie of the Year Crystal Dangerfield, who injured a shoulder in Friday's win over the Las Vegas Aces.

Minnesota shot 55.9 percent from the field and made 9 of 19 from 3-point range.