NEW YORK (AP) — Epiphanny Prince scored 22 points and the New York Liberty clinched their first playoff berth in three seasons with an 81-68 victory over the Minnesota Lynx on Friday night.
Tina Charles added 18 points for New York (19-8), which holds a 2 1/2-game lead in the Eastern Conference. The Liberty, a game ahead of the Lynx for the best record in the WNBA, last made the playoffs in 2012.
Maya Moore led Minnesota (19-10) with 25 points, all coming after the first quarter.
This was the first meeting of the teams, marking the latest in the season that two conference leaders played for the first time according to STATS. The two will play again Sept. 6 in Minnesota.
New York came out focused and built an 11-point lead in the first quarter. Minnesota cut it to two in the second, but could never get any closer the rest of the game.
MYSTICS 71, MERCURY 63
WASHINGTON (AP) — Ivory Latta scored 24 points and Washington held off Phoenix.
The Mystics (16-11) scored the final six points after Brittney Griner’s shot from the lane pulled the Mercury (17-12) within two with 2:43 to play.
Latta started the clinching run with a scoop shot at 1:38 after Emma Meesseman blocked Noelle Quinn’s layup that could have tied it. Latta and Tierra Ruffin-Pratt made two free throws each in the closing seconds as Phoenix missed its last six shots and finished with 20 turnovers.
Meesseman had 14 points and Stefanie Dolson 10 points for the Mystics.
Leilani Mitchell led Phoenix with 16 points and Griner added 12, including her second dunk of the season and sixth of her career, the most in WNBA history.
DREAM 90, FEVER 84
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Tiffany Hayes scored 10 of her career-high 28 points in the fourth quarter to help Atlanta beat Indiana.
Matee Ajavon scored 12 of her 17 points in the fourth quarter for Atlanta (12-16). Angel McCoughtry had 11 points before leaving the game in the third.
Tamika Catchings had 24 points for Indiana (17-11) and Layshia Clarendon scored a career-high 17. Briann January left the game in the second quarter after a collision and did not return.
Atlanta’s DeLisha Milton-Jones broke the WNBA record for games played at 497 when she entered early in the second quarter.
SHOCK 76, SPARKS 66
TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Riquna Williams and Odyssey Sims scored 15 points each to lead Tulsa past Los Angeles for its fourth straight victory.
Williams hit a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired with 1:27 left to up Tulsa’s lead to 73-66 and, on the next possession, the Sparks had a 3-pointer waved off because of a shot-clock violation.
Courtney Paris had 12 points and 13 rebounds, and Karima Christmas added 11 points for the Shock (14-14). Candace Parker had 24 points and 11 rebounds for the Sparks (11-18).
STORM 83, STARS 69
SEATTLE (AP) — Crystal Langhorne had 22 points and 10 rebounds for her first double-double of the season and Seattle beat San Antonio.
Sue Bird had all 10 of her points in the first quarter as the Storm (8-20) opened a 25-16 lead.
The Stars (7-22) are winless in 14 road games.