Brittney Griner had 23 points and 11 rebounds to help the Phoenix Mercury advance to the second round of the playoffs with a 79-69 victory over the Seattle Storm on Wednesday night in Tempe, Ariz.
Phoenix will play at No. 4 Connecticut on Sunday.
Late in the fourth quarter, Diana Taurasi dribbled down the clock and found Leilani Mitchell for a corner three-pointer on a cross-court pass for a 73-65 lead. Seattle’s Sue Bird answered with a long three-pointer but Phoenix closed the game by making six consecutive free throws.
Taurasi only played seven minutes in the first half after picking up three fouls, but she finished with 14 points for Phoenix. In the second half, she became the second WNBA player to reach 1,000 career playoff points, joining Tamika Catchings.
Breanna Stewart led Seattle with 23 points.
Delle Donne sparks Mystics
Elena Delle Donne had 25 points and 11 rebounds, Emma Meesseman added 16 points and 10 boards, and the Washington Mystics beat the Dallas Wings 86-76 in the first round of the WNBA playoffs.
Washington opened the second half on a 21-7 spurt, with eight points by Delle Donne, to take a 55-41 lead. But Dallas went on a 9-0 run in the fourth, capped by Skylar Diggins-Smith’s fast-break layup, to pull to 71-67 with 3:13 left.
Washington’s Tierra Ruffin-Pratt missed two free throws with 43.2 seconds left, but Krystal Thomas hustled to the offensive rebound. Delle Donne was fouled and put the Mystics ahead by six at the 38.7 mark. The Mystics went 7-for-8 from the line the rest of the way to seal it.
Thomas added a franchise playoff record 17 rebounds for Washington (19-16), which had lost both its home games this season to Dallas. The Mystics will next face the Phoenix Mercury, who defeated the Seattle Storm 79-69 late Wednesday.
Spartans to honor Jud
Michigan State’s basketball team will wear patches throughout the upcoming season to honor former coach Jud Heathcote.
The Feb. 10 home game against Purdue also has been named the Jud Heathcote Tribute Game. Michigan State says that date coincides with the annual reunion of former Spartans players.
Heathcote died Aug. 28 in Spokane, Wash., at the age of 90.
Heathcote retired in 1995 after a 19-year career at Michigan State. He led the Spartans and Magic Johnson to the 1979 NCAA championship, won three Big Ten titles and appeared in nine NCAA tournaments. He got his start as a head coach in college at Montana in 1971.
A public memorial service is scheduled Sept. 23 at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Spokane.
Cavs’ renovation back
The Cavaliers are reviving a $140 million renovation of Quicken Loans Arena over a week after the project was scrapped.
The Cavaliers had hoped to upgrade the 22-year-old downtown arena with more dining spaces and a glass exterior but faced opposition from community groups objecting to the use of taxpayer money. The Cavaliers canceled the renovation after a referendum petition threatened to delay the project.
But the petition was withdrawn after officials promised to commit to mental health and substance abuse clinics.