Sun defeat Dream to clinch spot in Commissioner's Cup championship
Canada's Kia Nurse scores 8 points, collects 5 rebounds as Mercury beat Storm
Jonquel Jones had 24 points and 16 rebounds, DeWanna Bonner added 22 points and the Connecticut Sun beat the Atlanta Dream 84-72 on Friday night to wrap up a spot in the WNBA Commissioner's Cup championship.
Connecticut will represent the Eastern Conference in the inaugural title game Aug. 12 in Phoenix after going 8-1 in Commissioner's Cup games. The title-contending teams will be vying for a prize pool of a $500,000.
Brionna Jones added 16 points and nine rebounds and Briann January scored 11 points for Connecticut (13-6). Bonner moved into sixth on the WNBA career list for made free throws, passing Cappie Pondexter.
Shoutout to DeWanna Bonner for moving to 6th all-time in FTM 👏<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CountIt?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CountIt</a> <a href="https://t.co/TrkH8mcyXk">pic.twitter.com/TrkH8mcyXk</a>—@WNBA
Jones was 11 of 18 from the floor to help her reach 20-plus points for the eighth time this season. The Sun shot 51.5% while holding Atlanta to 38.5%.
Cheyenne Parker scored all 15 of her points in the first half for Atlanta (6-12), which has lost three straight. Crystal Bradford added 12 points and Aari McDonald 10.
Storm fall to Mercury, still clinch spot in championship
Brittney Griner had 29 points and 15 rebounds to help the Phoenix Mercury beat the Seattle Storm 85-77 on Friday night.
Skylar Diggins-Smith added 26 points on 8-of-13 shooting for the Mercury (9-9). They beat the top two teams in the WNBA standings in consecutive games with Diana Taurasi sidelined by a hip injury. Griner had 33 points Wednesday night in a 99-90 overtime win over the Las Vegas Aces.
The Storm (15-5) wrapped up a spot in WNBA Commissioner's Cup championship when the Las Vegas Aces lost to the Minnesota Lynx later Friday.
Hamilton, Ont., native Kia Nurse contributed eight points and two assists while also collecting five rebounds for Phoenix.
All buckets for <a href="https://twitter.com/SkyDigg4?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@SkyDigg4</a> <br><br>📺 <a href="https://twitter.com/espn?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@espn</a> <a href="https://t.co/cLbHWtaOMq">pic.twitter.com/cLbHWtaOMq</a>—@WNBA
Jewell Loyd had 16 points for Seattle. Breanna Stewart added 15, and Katie Lou Samuelson had 14.
Sue Bird had her 3,000th career assist on a low-post feed to Mercedes Russell with 2:53 left in the third quarter.
The teams will meet again Sunday in Everett, Washington.
Lynx defeat Aces for 6th straight win
Layshia Clarendon had 18 points and nine assists and the Minnesota Lynx won their sixth straight game, beating the Las Vegas Aces 85-77 on Friday night.
Minnesota (11-7) did not attempt a free throw, the second time a WNBA team has finished a game without an attempt. The Lynx led 10-2, had a 37-18 advantage early in the second and led by at least 12 the rest of the way.
Damiris Dantas and Sylvia Fowles added 14 points each, and Kayla McBride had 10.
Chatham, Ont., native Bridget Carleton scored 7 points, added a pair of assists and secured a rebound for the Lynx.
Kelsey Plum had 16 of her 18 points in the second half for the Aces (14-6). They lost their second in a row, handing Seattle a spot in the WNBA Commissioner's Cup championship.
Fever take down Liberty
Kelsey Mitchell had 20 points and the Indiana Fever won their second straight game after losing 12 in a row, beating the New York Liberty 82-69 on Friday night.
Danielle Robinson added 18, and Teaira McCowan had 15 points for the Fever (3-16). Tiffany Mitchell and Jantel Lavender scored 10 points each.
Betnijah Laney had 23 points for the Liberty (10-10). Kylee Shook added 13 points, and Sami Whitcomb and Reshanda Gray had 10 each.
Indiana had its largest lead, at 58-44, with 2:53 left in the third quarter. New York cut it to six with less than four minutes to go but got no closer.