ATLANTA (AP) — Jessica Breland scored 19 points, Alex Bentley made a late go-ahead 3-pointer and the short-handed Atlanta Dream beat the Los Angeles Sparks 79-73 on Thursday night.
It was Atlanta’s first victory without star Angel McCoughtry, who the team announced just before the game that she would miss the remainder of the season due to torn ligaments in her left knee. She was averaging 16.5 points, including a career-high 39 points at New York earlier this year.
Bentley finished with 13 points and Elizabeth Williams had 10 points and seven rebounds for Atlanta.
Atlanta (20-10) is 2½ games behind first-place Seattle (23-8) and a game ahead of third-place Washington (19-11). The Storm have clinched a top-two seed and will receive a double-bye to the semifinals.
Bentley made a 3-pointer to give Atlanta a 71-68 lead and she came off a high screen to drain a long jumper to make it 75-70. Riquna Williams answered with a 3-pointer to pull Los Angeles closer but Tiffany Hayes secured it at the free-throw line with 4.4. seconds left.
Candace Parker had 20 points and 12 rebounds for her 11th double-double of the season for Los Angeles (18-12). Williams added 18 points off the bench and Chelsea Gray had 13 for the Sparks, who were playing the second-half of a back-to-back after winning in New York on Wednesday night.
MYSTICS 100, STORM 77
WASHINGTON (AP) — Elena Delle Donne scored 30 points, LaToya Sanders had 17 points and 10 rebounds and the Mystics beat the league-leading Storm for their fifth straight victory.
Washington never trailed and led by as many as 27 points.
Despite the loss, Seattle clinched one of the top two seeds in the playoffs when Atlanta beat Los Angeles later Thursday. The Storm have a bye to the semifinals.
Natasha Cloud had 14 points and eight assists for Washington (19-11) and Ariel Atkins added 12 points. The Mystics are a game behind the second-place Atlanta Dream. Delle Donne was 11 of 16 from the field as the Mystics shot 57 percent, including 12 of 26 from 3-point range.
Natasha Howard and Jewell Loyd each scored 15 points for Seattle (23-8), which had its five-game winning streak snapped.
LYNX 89, ACES 73
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Maya Moore scored 34 points, Sylvia Fowles broke her own franchise single-season rebounding record and the Lynx beat the Aces to clinch their eighth straight playoff spot.
Moore was 12-of-19 shooting, with five 3-pointers, for her second straight 30-plus game and Fowles had 10 points and 19 rebounds for her 18th double-double of the season. Fowles topped her rebounding total of 354 from last season.
Tanisha Wright added 16 points off the bench for Minnesota (17-13). Danielle Robinson made her second straight start in place of the resting Lindsay Whalen, but played just 12 minutes after injuring her ankle. Rebekkah Brunson also missed the game.
Las Vegas (12-18) has lost five straight — including a forfeited game at Washington. The Aces are 2½ games back of eighth-place Dallas.
A’ja Wilson scored 18 points, with 10 straight makes at the free-throw line, for the Aces.