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Shock beat Stars 95-90 behind Paris 22 points Mercury rout Sun, extend win streak to 12

TULSA, Oklahoma, July 18, (AP): Courtney Paris scored a career-high 22 points and the Tulsa Shock made three late free throws to beat the San Antonio Stars 95-90 Thursday. Jennifer Lacy sank a pair of free throws with 33.7 seconds remaining and Roneeka Hodges added another with 13 seconds left to seal the win. Glory Johnson added a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds to help the Shock (8-15) snap a five-game losing streak. Skylar Diggins had 19 points and Odyssey Sims scored 15. Lacy finished with 12. Danielle Adams scored 17 points for San Antonio (11-12) and Sophia Young-Malcol had 16. Danielle Robinson and Kayla McBride scored 15 apiece. Paris performed well before her former college coach at Oklahoma Sherri Coale, who traveled the turnpike from Norman to Tulsa.

Asked if having her former coach and assistants courtside made her nervous, Paris joked, ‘’No, because I know tomorrow she won’t yell at me. Seriously, she congratulated the team on the win. It was nice to have her here.’’ Tulsa trailed 45-38 at halftime but used a 26-8 run to take control of the game. The eight points by the Stars in the third period were the fewest by an opponent in one quarter at the BOK Center this season. The Stars made 11 3-pointers, including four in the final period. Adams and McBride did most of the damage, hitting a combined seven from beyond the arc. But Lacy and Hodges made free throws in the final minute to secure the victory. Tulsa shot 50 percent for the game and outrebounded the Stars 32-25. ‘’The team really fed Glory and Paris and cleared out giving them room to operate,’’ Williams said.

 
Mercury 101, Sun 85
In Phoenix, the Phoenix Mercury have gotten contributions from all of their All-Stars during their lengthy winning streak. But on Thursday, it was the 13th-year veteran from Australia who gave them a lift. Penny Taylor had a season-high 23 points, added four rebounds, four assists and three steals in leading the Mercury to their 12th straight win, 101-85 over the Connecticut Sun. The Mercury have an WNBA-best 18-3 record. All-Star Brittney Griner added 21 points, five rebounds and three blocked shots, giving her 80 at the break for Phoenix. Katie Douglas hit a season-high five 3-pointers and had 23 points, five rebounds and six assists for the Sun (10-14), who have lost eight of their past 10.
 
Phoenix — which hosts the WNBA All-Star game on Saturday — is one win, or a Seattle loss, away from clinching a playoff spot, with a month left in the season. Before the streak, no Mercury team had previously been more than 13 games above .500 and Phoenix won 19 games during the regular season a year ago on its way to the Western Conference finals. Phoenix has won its games by an average of 12.2 points during the win streak. Alex Bentley added 20 points for Connecticut, which was the most recent team to beat the Mercury, 96-95, on June 12. All-Star Diana Taurasi had 14 points and six assists for Phoenix, winners of 14 of its past 15.
 
After trailing by as much as 14 in the first half, Connecticut used some hustle - Chiney Ogwumike’s put-back after being blocked by Griner, Douglas’ steal of an inbounds pass before Phoenix ran off nine straight points and led 76-61 going into the final quarter. Ogwumike had 14 points and 10 rebounds for Connecticut, her 10th double-double of the season. Candice Dupree, an All-Star reserve, had 14 points and seven rebounds for Phoenix. Taylor had 19 points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals in the first half as Phoenix opened up a 51-39 lead. Phoenix led by as much as 21 in the fourth quarter.
 
Mystics 79, Sparks 75
In Los Angeles, the Washington Mystics had enough energy left at the end of a long road trip to head into the WNBA All-Star break on a high note. Tierra Ruffin-Pratt scored a career-high 18 points and Monique Currie added 16 as Washington beat the Los Angeles Sparks 79-75 on Thursday night. Ivory Latta scored 15 points for Washington (10-13), which had lost four of six. The Mystics moved into third place in the Eastern Conference just before All-Star weekend. Currie helped Washington finish the trip 3-2 by clogging the paint for Sparks forward Candace Parker, who missed nine of her first 11 shots attempts and went 5-for-16 overall. The Mystics made 10 of 13 field goals and outscored the Sparks 27-16 in the third quarter. Kia Vaughn had 14 points and nine rebounds and netted the go-ahead basket inside to make it 74-72. Latta sank two free throws with 18 seconds left, and the Sparks’ Kristi Toliver missed an ensuing 3-point attempt.
 
Jantel Lavender scored a season-high 23 points to lead the Sparks (10-12), who had their season-best, three-game winning streak end. Parker scored 18 points, with seven rebounds and six assists, and Toliver had 13 points. Parker, coming off a season-high 34-point game, scored eight points in the fourth quarter and pulled the Sparks into a 72-72 tie with two free throws. But Toliver and Parker turned it over on the Sparks’ next two possessions, and Emma Meesseman rebounded Latta’s miss for Washington. The Sparks had 19 turnovers and were outrebounded 10-5 on the offensive boards. It was their sixth game in 11 days, and Parker said the break might be beneficial. The Sparks, 3-7 at home, haven’t won there since June 24.
 
Sky 82, Fever 64
In Indianapolis, message on the board in the Indiana locker room was ‘’Finish Strong,’’ something the Fever have struggled to do. But in a matchup with the slumping Chicago Sky, the Fever found their game and surged to a win. Tamika Catchings scored 25 points, and Briann January added 14 as the Fever sent the Sky to their sixth straight loss, 82-64 on Thursday night.
 
Indiana outscored Chicago 29-16 in the fourth quarter. Catchings scored 14 points in the fourth quarter for the Fever (11-12). Indiana built a 53-36 lead late in the third quarter after first half runs of 17-2 and 9-2. But, Chicago (8-14) stormed back with an 11-0 spurt to close the period and get within 53-48. Indiana answered with an 11-0 run to open the final period, stretching its lead to 80-56 with 1:37 to play when January rolled in a fast-break layup. January returned to the lineup after missing Tuesday’s game. Her bucket gave the Fever a 24-point lead, their biggest of the season.
 
Allie Quigley had 17 points to lead Chicago, which has dropped 13 of 16. Sylvia Fowels had 15 points — all in the first half — and 11 rebounds. The Sky were again without starters Courtney Vandersloot and Elena Delle Donne and fell to 1-6 without them. The Fever trailed by four with 21.5 seconds left in the first period, but Krystal Thomas hit a jumper, and Layshia Clarendon made a buzzer-beating reverse layup to tie it 21-21. Clarendon, who finished with four points, then rolled in another layup nearly two minutes into the second quarter to give the Fever a lead they didn’t relinquish.

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