Taurasi honors Kobe as Mercury beat Mystics

BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) — Diana Taurasi hit seven 3-pointers and finished 34 points — both season highs — to help the Phoenix Mercury beat the Washington Mystics 88-87 on Sunday night.

Taurasi honored former Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant by wearing a No. 8 Bryant jersey on what would’ve been the five-time NBA champion’s 42nd birthday. Bryant died in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26.

She made 8 of 15 from the field and 11 of 13 from the free-throw line.

Phoenix was without six-time All-Star center and two-time WNBA defensive player of the year Brittney Griner — the team’s leader in scoring (17.7 points per game), rebounding (7.5) and blocks (1.8) — for the second consecutive game. The Mercury announced Saturday that Griner had left the WNBA Bubble at IMG Academy for personal reasons.

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Tianna Hawkins led the Mystics with 19 points and Ariel Atkins scored 18.

DREAM 78, LYNX 75

Betnijah Laney had 16 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds to help the Dream end a 10-game losing streak with a win over the Lynx.

Monique Billings added 16 points, 13 rebounds and a career-high three steals for the Dream (3-11). Courtney Williams scored 14 points and Blake Dietrick 13 for Atlanta.

The Lynx went scoreless for three-plus minutes as Atlanta scored 10 consecutive points, including back-to-back 3-pointers by Shekinna Stricklen and Dietrick, to make it 71-65 midway through the fourth quarter and the Dream led the rest of the way.

Napheesa Collier scored 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds, Lexie Brown had 17 points and Crystal Dangerfield 14 for Minnesota (9-4), which had its three-game win streak snapped.

SPARKS 84, WINGS 81

Candace Parker had 22 points, 14 rebounds and six assists, Brittney Sykes scored a season-high 23 points, and the Los Angeles Sparks beat the Wings for their seventh consecutive win.

Nneka Ogwumike added 14 points and Chelsea Gray scored 12 for the Sparks (10-3).

Marina Mabrey’s short basket with 7:55 to play gave the Wings a 10-point lead but they went scoreless for the next three minutes during a 20-4 run by the Sparks to take a 83-77 when Nneka Ogwumike made a layup with 1:53 remaining.

Arike Ogunbowale led Dallas (5-9) with 20 points,

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