LOS ANGELES, CALIF. - The New York Liberty won the "test of wills" with the Los Angeles Sparks Wednesday, holding them off for the 66-64 win.
Tina Charles had 31 points and 15 rebounds for the Liberty, while Cappie Pondexter added 16 points. Nneka Ogwumike was the high scorer for the Sparks, with 23 points. Jantel Lavender had 16 and Kristi Toliver, 13. Los Angeles All-Star forward Candace Parker sat out with a left knee strain, and is day to day.
A year ago at this time, the Connecticut Sun were 8-8 and looking promising. Then age and inexperience caught up with them.
Despite the sometimes-heroics of #1 draft pick Chiney Ogwumike, the Sun would go on to win only five more games on the year - many of them close losses that slipped through their fingers. They finished last in the Eastern Conference, and only slightly ahead of the league-last Tulsa Shock in the West.
Entering Saturday night's game between the Phoenix Mercury and Minnesota Lynx at Target Center, Brittney Griner was the focal point, returning from a seven-game suspension for her domestic violence incident with then-fiancé Glory Johnson in April.
Minnesota's defense stole the headline for the game, applying a stingy sort for a 71-56 win. The Lynx (7-2) forced 20 turnovers that led to 24 points, thanks to fluent reading of passing lanes and a few swipes at Mercury (3-5) players who were stumped by a rejuvenated squad.
SEATTLE — Three days before the start of the 2015 WNBA season, Markeisha Gatling found herself team-less.
The 10th overall pick by Chicago the year before, the 6-foot-5 center was waived by the Sky on June 3 as the team went with the pairing of Clarissa Dos Santos and Sasha Goodlett to replace Sylvia Fowles in the middle.
While the NC State alumna latched on with Seattle three days later, it wasn’t until Thursday night that she saw action in a Storm uniform.
With last year's WNBA Championship Phoenix Mercury team dismantled, the Minnesota Lynx seemed the obvious choice to replace them in the dominating spot.
In an offseason that saw numerous trades and a year so far that features many key player absences due to overseas committments, the Lynx are one of the few squads where all but one on the roster is present. They are arguably the deepest team in the league, and their core starters have played together for years, collecting two league titles in the last four seasons.
Historically, the Eastern Conference holds the distinction of being the more unpredictable group every WNBA season, but a topsy-turvy conference doesn't offer enough explanation for Atlanta's baffling start to the 2015 season. About a quarter of the way through, the Dream find themselves at 3-5, tied for last place in the Eastern Conference. Ample opportunity remains for Atlanta to correct their miscues, but losing Tiffany Hayes and Aneika Henry to an international 3-on-3 tournament in Azerbaijan only amplifies gaps in continuity, and the lack of it is apparent in their play.
For anyone who missed the memo, the Tulsa Shock are no longer a push-over team. They assumed first place in the Western Conference in a convincing 86-78 win over the Minnesota Lynx Sunday night at Target Center.
The outcome was surprising for some, considering that Minnesota (5-2) had beaten Tulsa (6-1) in the last six meetings, but Tulsa's perseverance and closing ability has greatly improved this season.
Anyone who successfully predicted that Tricia Liston would be the game's high scorer in Thursday night's contest between the Seattle Storm and Minnesota Lynx should consider being a psychic.
For Liston, her career-high 15 points foretold a 94-70 win for the Lynx at Target Center. The second-year small forward from Duke had made just one of eight three-pointers in the first two games of the season. On Thursday, Liston was off to another rough start, but after calming herself and squaring up properly, her long-distance stroke caught Seattle (1-2) unprepared.