Mercury’s Diggins-Smith ties game with prayer at buzzer leading to OT win over Sun

Skylar Diggins-Smith scored a season-high 33 points, including a tying 35-footer at the end of regulation, Diana Taurasi added 28, and the Phoenix Mercury gave up a 22-point lead before beating the Connecticut Sun 100-95 in overtime on Wednesday night.

Brianna Turner had 10 points, a career-high 21 rebounds, five assists and four blocks for Phoenix (13-8). The Mercury have won seven of their last eight games to pull within a half-game of the fourth-place Minnesota Lynx.

Taurasi hit a 3-pointer — her fifth of the game — with 1:46 to play to break a 91-all tie and give the Mercury the lead for good. Diggins-Smith added a jumper 55 seconds later and Taurasi made two free throws to cap a 7-1 spurt that made it 98-92 with 15.4 seconds to go.

DeWanna Bonner had 32 points and 10 rebounds and Alyssa Thomas added 18 points, 17 rebounds, five assists and three steals for Connecticut (10-11).

Second in the NBA in offensive rebounds at 9.7 per game, the Sun had a season-high 19 against Phoenix, including one by Thomas with 18.5 seconds left in regulation and the game tied at 84-all. But after Connecticut called a timeout, Kaila Charles threw the in-bound pass directly to the Mercury’s Shey Peddy and Diggins-Smith made a layup.

Bonner answered with a 3-pointer and then forced Taurasi out of bounds before hitting two free throws to make it 89-86 with 3.4 seconds to go. Diggins-Smith hit a runner to force OT.

The Sun beat Phoenix 85-70 on Monday to snap its six-game win streak.

Phoenix led 40-18 midway through the second quarter but the Sun used a 33-10 run to take a three point lead into the fourth.

Dream down Sky to stay alive in playoff race

Betnijah Laney had 24 points and 10 rebounds, Courtney Williams added 20 points and 10 boards, and the Atlanta Dream beat the Chicago Sky 97-89 to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Chennedy Carter had 16 points, Blake Dietrich scored 15 and Elizabeth Williams added 11 points and 10 rebounds for Atlanta, which came into the night trailing Dallas by two games for the final playoff spot.

Courtney Vandersloot hit a jumper and then a 3-pointer to give Chicago (11-10) an 18-point lead with eight minutes left in the third quarter but the Dream (6-14) scored 26 of the next 34 points to make it 73-all heading into the fourth after Shekinna Stricklen hit a 3-pointer. Laney and Monique Billings made back-to-back layups midway through the fourth, sparking a 12-0 a run that gave Atlanta a 95-86 lead with two minutes left. The Sky missed seven consecutive field-goal attempts during that span.

Vandersloot finished with 22 points and 11 assists. Kahleah Copper and Allie Quigley added 17 points apiece for Chicago.

The Sky have lost four consecutive games and six of their last seven.

Storm snag 6th straight win

Jewell Loyd and Breanna Stewart scored 23 points apiece and the Seattle Storm used an 11-0 run to pull away for good in their 107-95 win over the Dallas Wings.

Stewart added 11 rebounds, six assists, three steals and two blocks to help the Storm wrap up one of the top two seeds in the playoffs and earn a double-bye to the semifinals. Natasha Howard had 16 points and eight rebounds, Alysha Clark scored 14 points and Sue Bird added 10 points and nine assists for the Storm before she left the game after banging knees with Satou Sabally midway through the fourth quarter.

Seattle (17-3) has won six games in a row and leads Las Vegas by 1 1/2 games for the No. 1 seed in the playoffs, which begin Sept. 15. The Aces play the third-place Los Angeles Sparks on Saturday before closing the regular season against Seattle on Sunday.

Stewart made two free throws to break a 74-all tie, Sami Whitcomb hit a 3-pointer and Stewart made a layup to close the third quarter before Jordin Canada and Stewart made back-to-back layups to open the fourth and make it 85-74 with 8:22 to play. Marina Mabrey hit a 3-pointer to pull the Wings within six about two minutes later but they would get no closer.

Sabally led Dallas (7-13) with 25 points before she left the game. Allisha Gray scored 17 points and Arike Ogunbowale, who leads the league in scoring at 21.9 points per game, added 15 on 4-of-15 shooting. She didn’t score in the second half.

Dallas leads Washington by a half-game and Atlanta by a game for the eighth and final playoff spot. Dallas plays Chicago on Friday before closing its regular season against New York on Sunday. Washington finishes with three games in four days, playing Thursday against Los Angeles, Saturday against New York and finally Atlanta on Sunday. The Dream faces Connecticut Friday before their regular season finale against the Mystics.





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