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|Griner and Taylor lift Mercury over Lynx 85-71 (The Associated Press) [Yahoo! Sports: August 30, 2014, 4:15 am]
Brittney Griner had 23 points and 11 rebounds and the Phoenix Mercury held off a late rally to beat the Minnesota Lynx 85-71 on Friday night in Game 1 of the best-of-3 Western Conference finals. Penny Taylor added 16 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists and a pair of steals for the Mercury, who built a 25-point lead in the third quarter but allowed Minnesota to get within 10 in the final period. Diana Taurasi added 17 points, six rebounds and five assists on an off-shooting night (5-of-15) while DeWanna Bonner had 16 points and seven rebounds for Phoenix, which won three of four meetings with Minnesota during the regular season.
Sky-Fever Preview (The Associated Press) [Yahoo! Sports: August 29, 2014, 11:32 pm]
Indiana coach Lin Dunn's impending retirement isn't adding extra motivation for the Fever to win the Eastern Conference finals. Although they'd like to send the Hall of Fame coach off on a high note with a WNBA championship, remembering the feeling of winning the 2012 title is enough incentive. On Saturday, the Fever open the Eastern Conference finals at home against the Chicago Sky. ''I think right now we just want to win another championship,'' Shavonte Zellous said.
Key story lines for the WNBA conference finals (The Associated Press) [Yahoo! Sports: August 29, 2014, 8:24 am]
The WNBA playoffs are down to the final four teams with Phoenix, Minnesota, Indiana and Chicago still standing. Here's a look at a few story lines for the conference finals. WOMEN'S WORLD: For the first time in the 18-year history of the WNBA all four teams in the conference finals are coached by women. Minnesota's Cheryl Reeve won in 2011 and 2013.
Lynx-Mercury Preview (The Associated Press) [Yahoo! Sports: August 28, 2014, 11:15 pm]
The Western Conference finals will be a dream matchup: the WNBA's top two teams, with the league MVP, defensive player of the year and coach of the year all on the floor at the same time. The Minnesota Lynx and Phoenix Mercury also will be meeting for the third time in four years in the Western Conference finals in what's become an intriguing rivalry. ''This game is perfect for that, it's perfect for everyone to get excited for, for both teams to get excited for, it's no doubt going to be fun,'' Minnesota's Maya Moore told reporters after practice on Wednesday before her team headed to Phoenix for Game 1 of the Western finals on Friday night. About the only drawback is that it comes in the conference finals, the penultimate stage of the playoffs.
Chiney Ogwumike of Sun wins WNBA rookie of year (The Associated Press) [Yahoo! Sports: August 28, 2014, 3:56 pm]
Chiney Ogwumike always enjoyed following her sister's path. Now the Connecticut Sun player joins her as a winner of the WNBA rookie of the year award. Ogwumike received the award Thursday at a news conference in Connecticut. Chiney Ogwumike, the No. 1 pick in last April's draft, averaged 15.5 points and 8.5 rebounds.
Chiney Ogwumike wins WNBA rookie of year (The Associated Press) [Yahoo! Sports: August 28, 2014, 2:33 pm]
Connecticut forward Chiney Ogwumike is the WNBA rookie of the year.
Tulsa's Diggins wins Most Improved award (The Associated Press) [Yahoo! Sports: August 27, 2014, 3:29 pm]
Tulsa Shock guard Skylar Diggins is the WNBA's Most Improved Player of the Year. The league announced Wednesday that Diggins received 29 of a possible 38 votes from a panel of national and local sports writers and broadcasters. The No. 3 overall pick out of Notre Dame in 2013, Diggins averaged 8.5 points as a rookie. Washington's Emma Meesseman, Tulsa's Courtney Paris and Chicago's Allie Quigley tied for second with two votes apiece.
Delle Donne's late jumper rallies Sky past Dream (The Associated Press) [Yahoo! Sports: August 27, 2014, 2:36 am]
Elena Delle Donne scored 17 of her 34 points in the fourth quarter, including the winning jumper with 8.4 seconds left, as the Chicago Sky rallied from 20 points down to beat the Atlanta Dream 81-80 on Tuesday night to advance to the Eastern Conference finals. Tamera Young scored 16 points and Sylvia Fowles added 13 points and 15 rebounds as the Sky won a playoff series for the first time in franchise history. Delle Donne then scored 13 points during the Sky's 19-2 run that tied the score at 74-all on her 3-pointer with 3:33 to go.
Sky-Dream Preview (The Associated Press) [Yahoo! Sports: August 25, 2014, 7:11 pm]
A shocking loss at home in the series opener left Angel McCoughtry feeling on edge, and she took out her frustrations in Game 2 while helping the top-seeded Atlanta Dream even their first-round series with the Chicago Sky. Another solid performance in Tuesday night's decisive Game 3 against visiting Chicago would get Atlanta closer to its fourth Eastern Conference title in five years. McCoughtry scored a game-high 24 points in Game 1, but Courtney Vandersloot hit a go-ahead jumper with 20.9 seconds remaining as the fourth-seeded Sky stole home-court advantage with an 80-77 victory Friday. With her team on the brink of elimination Sunday, McCoughtry hit 13 of 20 from the field and 13 of 14 from the free throw line to finish with 39 points in a 92-83 road victory.
Griner helps Mercury beat Sparks to sweep series (The Associated Press) [Yahoo! Sports: August 25, 2014, 3:33 am]
Brittney Griner scored a career playoff-high 21 points, including a breakaway two-handed dunk, and the Phoenix Mercury cruised to a 93-68 victory over the Los Angeles Sparks in Game 2 on Sunday night to complete a sweep in their Western Conference semifinals series. Penny Taylor scored 17 points and Candice Dupree had 16 points and eight rebounds as Phoenix advanced to a matchup against defending champion Minnesota in the West finals. Griner bounced back from a 2-for-11 shooting effort in the opener to go 9 for 9 from the field, setting a WNBA playoff record for most field goals without a miss. Her dunk midway through the third quarter stretched Phoenix's lead to 25 points.
McCoughtry powers Dream past Sky 92-83 (The Associated Press) [Yahoo! Sports: August 25, 2014, 1:41 am]
ROSEMONT, Ill. (AP) -- Angel McCoughtry scored a career-high 39 points, and the Atlanta Dream beat the Chicago Sky 92-83 on Sunday night to even their WNBA playoff series at one game apiece.
Quigley wins WNBA sixth woman of year (The Associated Press) [Yahoo! Sports: August 24, 2014, 9:32 pm]
CHICAGO (AP) -- Sky guard Allie Quigley earned WNBA sixth woman of the year honors Sunday.
Whalen, Lynx eliminate Hammon and Stars with win (The Associated Press) [Yahoo! Sports: August 24, 2014, 1:54 am]
Lindsay Whalen scored 31 points, and the Minnesota Lynx beat the Stars 94-89 on Saturday night to advance to the Western Conference finals and end the playing career of San Antonio's Becky Hammon. Seimone Augustus scored 21 points and Maya Moore had 16 for Minnesota, which won the series 2-0 and will next face the winner between Phoenix and Los Angeles. Kayla McBride had 25 points, Danielle Adams added 23, and Jia Perkins had 17 for San Antonio.
Catchings scores 26, Fever advance past Mystics (The Associated Press) [Yahoo! Sports: August 23, 2014, 11:58 pm]
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Tamika Catchings had 26 points and 11 rebounds as the Indiana Fever defeated the Washington Mystics 81-76 to sweep the best-of-three series and advance to the Eastern Conference finals.
Mercury-Sparks Preview (The Associated Press) [Yahoo! Sports: August 23, 2014, 6:47 pm]
Diana Taurasi prides herself on being a distributor in the Phoenix Mercury's up-tempo offense, but the former WNBA scoring champion proved in Game 1 just how dangerous she can be when taking advantage of her own opportunities. Phoenix looks to advance to the Western Conference finals by closing out this best-of-three series against the Los Angeles Sparks on the road Sunday night. "She does what she needs to do for this team to win," coach Sandy Brondello said. "Some days, it's scoring, other days, it's creating, distributing, just getting other people involved." Taurasi's performance helped the Mercury beat the Sparks for the sixth time this season and came on a night when Brittney Griner went 2 for 11 and scored just six points.
Dream-Sky Preview (The Associated Press) [Yahoo! Sports: August 23, 2014, 6:27 pm]
With the first playoff win in franchise history secured, the Chicago Sky find themselves in a great spot to reach the Eastern Conference finals. The Atlanta Dream, meanwhile, are fighting for one more game at home. After stealing home-court advantage with a hard-fought win over the top-seeded Dream, the Sky return home Sunday night with a chance to clinch the best-of-three series. Chicago went into Friday's opener with a 6-11 road record and had dropped two of three in Atlanta during the regular season, including a 97-59 loss June 7 that was by far its most lopsided defeat of the year.
Mercury beats Sparks 75-72 in WNBA playoffs (The Associated Press) [Yahoo! Sports: August 23, 2014, 4:17 am]
PHOENIX (AP) -- Diana Taurasi hit four straight free throws in the final 40 seconds, and the Phoenix Mercury beat the Los Angeles Sparks 75-72 on Friday night in the first round of the WNBA playoffs.
Vandersloot leads Sky past Dream 80-77 (The Associated Press) [Yahoo! Sports: August 23, 2014, 2:56 am]
Courtney Vandersloot made a tiebreaking jumper from the top of the key with 20 seconds left the Sky to an 80-77 win over the Dream in the first game of their WNBA playoff series. The game's decisive shot came after officials reviewed a loose ball scramble under Atlanta's basket and then called for a jump ball that Chicago center Syliva Fowles won over Atlanta center Erika de Souza with 42 seconds left. Elena Delle Donne led Chicago with 21 points, though she did not score in the fourth quarter. Epiphanny Prince added 14 points, and Fowles had 12 points and 14 rebounds for the Sky.
With Griner in middle, Mercury aims for title (The Associated Press) [Yahoo! Sports: August 22, 2014, 2:43 pm]
The Phoenix Mercury head into the WNBA playoffs after a record-breaking season. They won a league-record 29 games, including 16 straight during that stretch, and boast a multitude of talent in All-Stars Diana Taurasi, Candice Dupree, Penny Taylor and DeWanna Bonner. Brittney Griner is emerging as a dominant player after going No. 1 in the draft last year. Griner's rookie season was rocky.
Mercury's Brondello, Griner earn WNBA awards (The Associated Press) [Yahoo! Sports: August 22, 2014, 1:36 pm]
Phoenix's Sandy Brondello is the WNBA's coach of the year for guiding the Mercury to a league-record 29 wins this season, and Mercury center Brittney Griner is the defensive player of the year.