Sylvia Fowles posted 15 points and 17 rebounds on her return from a shoulder injury as the Minnesota Lynx overcame a sluggish scoring night to win their fourth straight, a 66-57 victory against the Los Angeles Sparks in Minneapolis.
Los Angeles Sparks 57 – 66 Minnesota Lynx
Minnesota (17-9) shot just 20 of 58 and failed to score more than 18 points in any quarter but a tenacious defensive effort in the second half, holding Los Angeles to just four points in the fourth quarter and 16 for the half, helped the Lynx rally from a deficit as high as eight points.
Fowles, who went for 29 points and 20 rebounds in an August 24 win over Seattle, showed no lingering effect from the shoulder injury that sidelined her on Tuesday.
She capitalised on a Sparks frontcourt missing Chiney Ogwumike, who was out with a knee injury and Minnesota dominated the glass to the tune of a 43-29 rebounding advantage. Napheesa Collier scored just five points, but contributed to the margin on the boards with eight rebounds.
Aerial Powers went 6 of 6 from the free-throw line and added 13 points off the bench for the Lynx, while Kayla McBride hit three 3-pointers en route to 17 points.
After 41 first-half points, Los Angeles (10-18) struggled to score on the interior. The Sparks shot a dismal 19 of 61, with six field goals coming from 3-point range. Erica Wheeler made two from long range en route to matching Nneka Ogwumike with a team-high 16 points.
Thursday’s defeat ended a forgettable six-game road trip for the Sparks, who lost their fifth straight.
Los Angeles heads home a game out for the last playoff spot in the WNBA, but behind two teams: New York and Washington.
Minnesota clinched a playoff berth before Thursday night’s game, and the win moved them ahead of Seattle into third place.
New York Liberty 75 – 85 Seattle Storm
Breanna Stewart scored 33 points and added eight rebounds and five assists, leading the Seattle Storm to an 85-75 comeback win over the New York Liberty in Everett, Washington State.
Seattle (19-10) trailed by double digits but managed to snap a three-game losing streak, thanks in part to 14 points by Mercedes Russell.
New York (11-18) extended its season-worst losing skid to six games despite 20 points and seven assists from Sabrina Ionescu. However, she scored just eight points after the first quarter.
The Liberty, who have now lost nine of their past 10 games, also had 17 points from Rebecca Allen and 15 from Natasha Howard.
Remarkably, Seattle won despite cold shooting from stars Sue Bird and Jewell Loyd. Bird was 1-6 from the floor and scored seven points while Loyd made 3-12 shots and had eight.
Liberty wing Michaela Onyenwere, who was named the WNBA’s Rookie of the Month for August, was also held to just four points on 1-5 shooting as New York fell to 5-9 on the road this year.
Chicago Sky 83 – 90 Las Vegas Aces
A’ja Wilson had 21 points and 10 rebounds as the host Las Vegas Aces won for the sixth time in seven games by holding off the Chicago Sky 90-83.
Kelsey Plum, Riquna Williams added 21 points each and Chelsea Gray scored 13 for the Aces who are now 20-7 on the season.
Candace Parker had 30 points and 14 rebounds, Kahleah Copper scored 16, Stefanie Dolson had 13 and Courtney Vandersloot 11 to lead the Sky (14-14), who concluded their road trip with consecutive losses after previously winning three straight games before that.
The score was tied before Williams and Wilson made two free throws each and Williams added a jumper to give the Aces an 85-79 lead with 1:44 left.
Atlanta Dream 68 – 72 Dallas Wings
Allisha Gray scored 19 points, including a three-point play during Dallas’ decisive late-game run, as the Wings outlasted the visiting Atlanta Dream 72-68.
The contest was the first of a two-games-in-four-days mini-series between the teams in Arlington, Texas.
The fourth quarter had three lead changes. Gray’s three-point play with 2:34 remaining gave the Wings a 66-62 advantage, and Isabelle Harrison’s put-back layup on Dallas’ ensuing possession stretched the lead to six points.
Atlanta pulled within two points on Courtney Williams’ 3-pointer with 29.2 seconds left but could get no closer.
Arike Ogunbowale added 17 points for the Wings, with Moriah Jefferson going for 13 and Harrison recording 11 points and 10 rebounds, her first double-double of the season. Gray also had a double-double as she pulled down 10 boards.
Dallas (12-15) snapped a three-game home losing streak, winning in their home building for the first time since July 2. The Wings are 3-3 since the WNBA’s five-week Olympic break.
Williams poured in 25 points for the Dream, with Monique Billings adding 15 points and 11 rebounds and Shekinna Stricklen contributing 10 points. This was Atlanta’s 11th consecutive loss dating back to June 29. The Dream (6-20) have dropped 14 of their past 15 games and are now in last place in the league.