Basketball·Roundup

Liberty lose for 10th time in 11 games as Dream take victory in slugfest

Courtney Williams had 15 points and 13 rebounds and the Atlanta Dream beat the New York Liberty 62-56 on Thursday night to sweep the season series.

Diggins-Smith, Taurasi lead Mercury rout of Fever to clinch playoff spot

New York's Kia Nurse drives against Atlanta's Betnijah Laney during the first half of the Liberty's 62-56 loss to the Dream on Thursday. (Mike Carlson/The Associated Press)

Courtney Williams had 15 points and 13 rebounds and the Atlanta Dream beat the New York Liberty 62-56 on Thursday night to sweep the season series.

Betnijah Laney added 13 points and six rebounds for Atlanta (5-13), which has won two straight games. Monique Billings grabbed 12 rebounds and Elizabeth Williams had eight points, eight boards and six blocks.

Both teams shot below 33 per cent from the field, combining for eight 3-pointers on 53 attempts.

Leaonna Odom and Kia Nurse each scored 12 points for New York (2-15), which has lost 10 of its last 11 games. Amanda Zahui B grabbed 11 rebounds and Kiah Stokes had 10 boards.

Mercury rout Fever to reach playoffs

Skylar Diggins-Smith scored 28 points and Diana Taurasi added 27, matching her career high with eight 3-pointers, to help the Phoenix Mercury clinch a playoff spot with a 105-81 win over the Indiana Fever on Thursday night.

Taurasi, who made seven 3-pointers in a win over Las Vegas on Tuesday, was 8 of 13 from distance - narrowly missing the WNBA record of nine held by Kristi Toliver and Kelsey Mitchell. The Mercury (11-7), who played just seven players, won their fifth straight.

Phoenix scored the first 10 points of the game, getting scoring from four of its five starters. The Mercury led 35-24 at the end of the first quarter after shooting 63.6 per cent from the field, including 4 of 5 from 3-point range. Phoenix cooled down in the second quarter but still led 54-46 at the break behind 15 points, and four 3-pointers, from Taurasi. Phoenix opened the third quarter on a 15-3 spurt.

Kelsey Mitchell scored 16 points, while Canada's Natalie Achonwa had four points and 10 rebounds for Indiana (5-13).

Wilson, Aces top short-handed Sun

A'ja Wilson scored 24 points, and Jackie Young and Dearica Hamby each had 20 points to help the Las Vegas Aces beat the shorthanded Connecticut Sun 93-78.

The Aces (13-4) are tied with Los Angeles for second place in the standings, one game behind Seattle, with five games to play.

Kayla McBride added 14 points and Angel McCoughtry scored 11 for Las Vegas. Young had 15 points and five assists off the bench in the first half to help Las Vegas build a 43-36 lead.

DeWanna Bonner led Connecticut (8-10) with 22 points. She scored 15 of Connecticut's 36 first-half points.

Connecticut was without two starters, both averaging double-figure scoring. Alyssa Thomas, 15.1 points and 8.8 rebounds, did not play due to an injured hand and Jasmine Thomas, 11.5 ppg, because of plantar fasciitis. The last time Alyssa Thomas missed a game was July 7, 2018, and it was May 20, 2017 when they both missed a contest together.

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