Stewart helps Storm beat Mystics, clinch playoff berth
Thornton scores career-high 21 points to lif Wings past Dream
Breanna Stewart made four free throws in the final 12 seconds and finished with 18 points, Tina Charles scored 16 points and grabbed nine rebounds and Seattle used a big second-half run to beat host Washington Mystics 82-77 Saturday and clinch a berth in the WNBA playoffs.
Seattle (19-11), which had lost three of its previous four games, took sole possession of fourth in the league standings — a game ahead of the fifth-place Mystics and 1 1/2 games behind No. 3 Connecticut with about two weeks before the postseason begins. The Storm have won the first two games of their three-game regular season series with Washington, which wraps up when the teams meet again Sunday.
What a move by <a href="https://twitter.com/breannastewart?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@breannastewart</a>! 😤<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/StewieMVP?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#StewieMVP</a> <a href="https://t.co/42tTcvRjT1">pic.twitter.com/42tTcvRjT1</a>—@seattlestorm
Epiphanny Prince took two steals coast-to-coast for layups 18 seconds apart as the Storm score the first 13 points of the fourth quarter to cap a 16-0 spurt that made it 70-55 when Stefanie Talbot made a 3-pointer with 6:28 to play. Washington scored 14 of the next 18 points to trim its deficit to five points with 2 minutes left after Ariel Atkins hit a 3 and Alysha Clark made another 3-pointer to pull within a point with 26.3 seconds remaining. After an inadvertent whistle by an official, Seattle called timeout and Talbot threw away the ensuing inbounds pass but Ezi Magbegor forced Washington's Elena Delle Donne into a tough shot with 14.9 seconds to go.
Washington (18-12) had won three games in a row and five of its last 6.
Delle Donne led the Mystics with 22 points and Atkins scored 13. Shakira Austin added 10 points and 10 rebounds and Natasha Cloud had 10 points and 11 assists.
The Mystics clinched a playoff berth later on Saturday after other results. Washington failed to reach postseason play in 2021 for just the second time since coach Mike Thibault took over in 2013.
Ogunbowale helps Wings down Dream
Kayla Thornton scored a career-high 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting, Teaira McCowan added 14 points and 14 rebounds and the Dallas Wings beat host Atlanta Dream 81-68 Saturday night.
Arike Ogunbowale added 21 points, eight assists and five steals for the Wings.
Listen, when you're hot you're hot 🤷♀️ <a href="https://t.co/HQU5UQ7TuQ">pic.twitter.com/HQU5UQ7TuQ</a>—@DallasWings
Dallas (13-16) moved into a tie with the Phoenix Mercury for sixth in the WNBA standings with about two weeks left in the regular season. Atlanta (12-18), among six teams battling for the final three playoff spots, is ninth, a game behind the Los Angeles Sparks (12-16) for the eighth and final postseason berth and 1 1/2 games ahead of the Minnesota Lynx (11-19).
The Wings avoided a season sweep against Atlanta, which won the first two games — a 66-59 road victory on May 7, and an 80-75 win at home on June 21.
Forwards Monique Billings (ankle) and Nia Coffey (knee), as well as guard AD Durr also did not play for Atlanta. The Dream announced Friday that Durr, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2019 draft who the Dream acquired last month via trade with the New York Liberty, would miss the rest of the season in preparation for hip surgery. Durr, a two-time Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year at Louisville, has played 43 career WNBA games due injury and COVID-related issues. The 5-foot-10 guard averaged 10.7 points in 15 games for Atlanta this season.
Rhyne Howard led Atlanta with 22 points, all in the first three quarters. Aari McDonald scored 13 points and Cheyenne Parker 12.