WNBA

Aces pull away for 98-81 victory over Liberty in the first meeting of star-studded WNBA teams

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LAS VEGAS (AP) — Kelsey Plum scored 18 points and the Las Vegas Aces routed the New York Liberty 98-81 on Thursday night in the first meeting between two of the top teams in the WNBA.

It was the seventh consecutive win for the Aces (14-1), who have been nearly unstoppable this season on offense, averaging nearly 93 points a game. All five of the Aces starters scored in double figures, with A’ja Wilson putting in 16 while Jackie Young and Candace Parker each added 15. Chelsea Gray had 14 points and six assists, including a few highlight reel ones.

The Aces pulled away in the second half to run away with the much-hyped first matchup between the teams who made the biggest moves in the offseason, with the defending champion Aces signing Parker and Alysha Clark. The Liberty added Breanna Stewart, Jonquel Jones, Courtney Vandersloot and Kayla Thornton.

New York (10-4) trailed 49-42 at the half, but Las Vegas scored the first 11 points of the third quarter to blow the game open and extended the advantage to 18.

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Stewart scored 16 points and Jones added 13 for the Liberty, who had their four-game winning streak snapped.

MERCURY 85, FEVER 63

PHOENIX (AP) — Brittney Griner scored 22 points, Diana Taurasi had 17 points and six assists, and Phoenix beat Indiana to snap a six-game losing streak.

It was the first win for interim coach Nikki Blue, who took over after Phoenix fired Vanessa Nygaard on Sunday. The Mercury only scored 62 points against Dallas on Tuesday in Blue’s debut.

Brianna Turner added a season-high 11 points for Phoenix (3-11). The Mercury had a season-high 28 assists on 34 made field goals. Sophie Cunningham (concussion evaluation) and Moriah Jefferson (ankle) did not play in the fourth quarter.

Kelsey Mitchell scored 15 points for Indiana (5-10), which lost its third straight after back-to-back losses against Las Vegas. NaLyssa Smith had 10 points and nine rebounds, and rookie Aliyah Boston added six points and nine rebounds.

LYNX 99, STORM 97, OT

SEATTLE (AP) — Napheesa Collier made a go-ahead jumper with 1.8 seconds left in overtime and Minnesota beat Seattle to spoil Jewell Loyd’s first career 40-point game.

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After rookie Diamond Miller made a layup to tie it at 97-all with 11.2 seconds left, Minnesota appeared to intentionally foul Loyd — with a foul to give — but the ball bounced off her foot with 7.6 seconds left. Collier faked a handoff to Kayla McBride at the 3-point line and drove the right side of the lane for a step-back shot.

Collier finished with 31 points, eight rebounds, six blocks and five assists. It was her second straight 30-point game after scoring 33 in a 104-93 victory over Seattle on Tuesday.

McBride and Miller each scored 19 points for Minnesota (6-9). Dorka Juhasz had 11 points and eight rebounds.

Loyd made 15 of 35 field goals and 7 of 8 free throws to finish with 41 points for Seattle (4-11). Sami Whitcomb made five 3-pointers and scored 22 points, and Ezi Magbegor had 16 points and 16 rebounds.

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AP sports: https://apnews.com/hub/sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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