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Lynx, Mercury in 4-way tie for final 2 WNBA playoff spots | CBC Sports

Sylvia Fowles had 16 points, Aerial Powers scored 10 of her 14 points in the fourth quarter, and the Minnesota Lynx beat the short-handed Phoenix Mercury 86-77 on Wednesday night to complete a three-game series sweep.

Minnesota (14-20) moved into a four-way tie for seventh, battling Atlanta, New York and Phoenix for the final two WNBA playoff spots. The Lynx play Seattle on Friday and Connecticut on Sunday to close the regular season. Phoenix (14-20) plays Dallas on Friday and Chicago on Sunday.

Powers made a layup in traffic to give Minnesota a 78-74 lead and she added two free throws on their next possession for a six-point lead. Moriah Jefferson put Minnesota ahead 84-77 with 35.2 seconds left on a jumper from the free-throw line.

Kayla McBride scored 18 points and Jessica Shepard added 15 points and 12 rebounds for Minnesota. Napheesa Collier, in her second game back after returning from giving birth to daughter, scored 11 points and Jefferson had six points and 12 assists.

Phoenix announced 30 minutes prior to tip that Skylar Diggins-Smith would not play due to personal reasons. The Mercury were already without Diana Taurasi.

Sophie Cunningham took over the scoring role for Phoenix, tying a career-high with six 3-pointers and finishing with 24 points. Shey Peddy added a career-high with five 3-pointers and she scored 21 points with 10 rebounds . Diamond DeShields had a career-high 10 assists and Megan Gustafson scored a career-high 15 points.

Cunningham made 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions to give Phoenix a 60-59 lead entering the fourth quarter. Cunningham and Peddy each made a 3-pointers on consecutive possessions early in the fourth for a 66-61 advantage.

Ionescu, Whitcomb lead Liberty past Wings

Sabrina Ionescu had 13 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, Sami Whitcomb added 15 points and the New York Liberty stayed in the playoff race with a 91-73 victory over the Dallas Wings on Wednesday night.

New York (14-20) moved into a tie with Atlanta for the eighth playoff spot, and the two teams play each other on Friday and Sunday to close the regular season. Dallas (17-17) is in the No. 6 spot in the playoffs. The Wings play Phoenix on Friday and Los Angeles on Sunday.

Ionescu, coming off a season-high 32 points against Dallas on Monday, was scoreless in the first half, going 0 for 4 from the field. But Ionescu responded after halftime with 11 points, four rebounds and four assists in the third quarter, including a layup just before the buzzer to extend New York’s lead to 67-57.

Marine Johannes added 13 points for New York which outscored Dallas’ reserves 50-9. Whitcomb made four of her first six 3-pointers, the last with 6:10 left in the third quarter for a 51-47 lead.

Marina Mabrey, coming off a career-high 31 points in a scoring battle with Ionescu on Monday, scored 19 points and Teaira McCowan had 17 points and 13 rebounds for Dallas, which had its franchise record five-game winning streak snapped. Arike Ogunbowale, Dallas’ leading scorer, is out for the rest of the regular season and the Wings’ first-round playoff matchup after having surgery on Tuesday.

Dallas jumped out to a 26-13 lead after making nine of its first 15 shots and led 31-18 entering the second quarter. But the Wings only scored five points through the opening seven minutes of the second quarter as New York used a 18-5 run to tie it at 36. The Wings led 39-38 at the break.



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