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GameThread: Dream hope to stay #2 over Sparks, Aces cling to playoff hopes against Lynx

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This story has been updated with a change to Angel McCoughtry’s injury status.

The 2018 WNBA season gives new meaning to the phrase “every game counts.” The two Thursday night matchups are no different, with three teams seeking better playoff seeding and the other hoping for a miracle to make it into the postseason.


Atlanta Dream (19-10) vs. LA Sparks (18-11)

When: Thursday, August 9 at 7 p.m. ET

Where: McCamish Pavilion, Atlanta | TICKETS

How to watch: NBA TV (nationally) | Fox Sports South (Atlanta)

Injury report: For Atlanta, Damiris Dantas (right ankle) is doubtful and LA had no injuries to report. Angel McCoughtry (left knee) was originally listed as doubtful for Atlanta but she has since been ruled out for the season.

Keys to the clash

  • Last game out, Angel McCoughtry was helped off the court due to what Atlanta Dream Head Coach Nikki Collen hopes is “just a hyperextension.” McCoughtry is doubtful for tonight’s game, which would be a blow to a team on a surge, winning nine of their last 10 games.Her shoes are impossible to fill, but big games from Jessica Breland, Elizabeth Williams, Brittney Sykes or Alex Bentley — to go with whatever magic three-time Player of the Week Tiffany Hayes puts together — can result in a win.
  • LA is rounding out of a cross-country road trip, narrowly escaping New York Wednesday with a one-point win over the Liberty. So LA faces a feisty Dream team for the second game of a back-to-back. But the Sparks bounced back to their winning ways once Nneke Ogwumike returned from illness so the match should be even, with the play of Chelsea Gray likely to be key in an LA win.
  • The series is tied 1-1 with this one being either team’s win.

Playoff picture

Both teams have secured playoff berths so this is about seeding. Atlanta wants to cling to #2, as the Mystics moved to within 0.5 game today after a blowout of the Storm. The Storm are still first in the standings but their loss today brought the Dream to within 3.0 games of first. If the Dream win tonight, they’ll get even closer to the top spot. The Washington Mystics win pushed the Sparks to fourth place — 1 game ahead of the Connecticut and 0.5 game behind the Mystics. It’s a tight squeeze in slots 2-8, with no more than a game separating any two teams. This game matters.


Las Vegas Aces (12-17) vs. Minnesota Lynx (16-13)

When: Thursday, August 9 at 10 p.m. ET

Where: Mandalay Bay Events Center, Las Vegas | TICKETS

How to watch: NBA TV (nationally) | AT&T Sportsnet (Las Vegas)

Injury report: For the Lynx, Rebekkah Brunson (broken nose) is out. For the Aces, Isabelle Harrison (suspension) remains out for the season.

Keys to the clash

  • The Aces enter this game having lost four games in a row, including all games played after their airport grounding forced them to take a forfeit against the Mystics last Friday. But the recent losses do not indicate poor play, as Kelsey Plum has eased into dominant play. Against the Dream on Tuesday, Plum scored 20 points and dished 13 assists for a double-double. It will take more of the same for Las Vegas to get past the defending WNBA champs.
  • The Lynx enter this game having suffered a 20-point blowout against the Dream on August 5 and enjoying a 21-point victory over the Sky on August 7. You win some, you lose some — the motto for Minnesota’s play lately. They’ve won five of their last 10 games and, therefore, have lost the other five. Brunson will be missed for sure, especially on defense, but if Maya Moore or Sylvia Fowles have big scoring games they can get past the Aces.
  • The season series is split, 1-1. Tonight’s action decides the winner.

Playoff picture

The Aces are currently out of playoff contention, a full two games behind the Dallas Wings. To even have a chance at a post season, a win tonight is a must. The Wings occupy the eighth spot in the standings have lost their last six games. But Las Vegas cannot count on the Wings losing out for the a shot at their spot. The Lynx, meanwhile, enter this game in sixth place, one game behind the Connecticut Sun with the Phoenix Mercury on the Lynx’s heels just 0.5 game back.

Via Swish Appeal

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College & HS

Barrett helps lead way as Duke sweeps exhibition

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MONTREAL — R.J. Barrett had 23 points and 11 assists to help Duke beat McGill University 103-58 on Sunday night in the Blue Devils’ third and final game on a Canadian exhibition tour.

Duke opened the tour with two games in Barrett’s hometown of Mississauga, Ontario, beating Ryerson 86-67 on Wednesday night and the University of Toronto 96-60 on Friday night. Barrett scored 34 points against Ryerson and 35 against Toronto.

Barrett had 11 assists against McGill, with the Redmen trying to limit his scoring.

“It’s just the ability to read the game, and they were trying to take away from me scoring,” Barrett said. “I was playing against one of my former coaches [McGill’s David DeAveiro] who knows what I do, so he was trying to limit me from scoring, which left my teammates wide open.”

DeAveiro coached Barrett for two years with the Canadian national cadet team.

Fellow freshman star Zion Williamson led Duke with 36 points and 13 rebounds. Alex Paquin had 29 points for McGill.

“We obviously have more talent, but we’re young. R.J. and Zion are 18. Alex Paquin is 24, he’s really good, and he’s a man,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “That’s one of the things when we get to NCAA play: We have to beat teams that have juniors, seniors or even graduate transfers. So that balances sometimes the talent aspect.”

Via ESPN

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The Game

GameThread: Mystics looking for win against Lynx to capture No. 2 seed

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The last two games of the WNBA regular season feature four teams that have all made the playoffs. Here’s how to watch.


Dallas Wings (15-18) vs. Seattle Storm (25-8)

When: Sunday, August 19 at 7 p.m. ET

Where: KeyArena – Seattle, WA | TICKETS

How to watch: ESPN3, JoeTV, WNBA League Pass

Injuries: For the Wings, Kaela Davis (vertigo) is out.

Scouting Report:

The Seattle Storm will end their 2018 regular season at home against the Dallas Wings on Sunday night. The Storm clinched the No. 1 position in the playoffs with a 85-77 win over the New York Liberty on Friday. Breanna Stewart had 22 points and 15 rebounds in the contest.

The Wings are also coming off a victory Friday night that clinched them the eighth and final spot in the playoffs, defeating the Las Vegas Aces 107-102. Liz Cambage poured in 43 points and 13 rebounds in that game, and Skylar Diggins-Smith added 23 points and 8 assists. But the Storm are playing great basketball heading into the playoffs and in their last game set a new WNBA record for threes made by a team in a season.


Washington Mystics (22-11) vs. Minnesota Lynx (17-16)

When: Sunday, August 19 at 7 p.m. ET

Where: Target Center – Minneapolis, MN | TICKETS

How to watch: ESPN2, WNBA League Pass

Injuries: For the Mystics, Ariel Atkins (hip) and Natasha Cloud (ankle) are questionable. For the Lynx, Rebekkah Brunson (concussion) is questionable.

Scouting Report:

The Washington Mystics are flying high after a buzzer-beater win over the Sparks on Friday night, 69-67. Another win for the Mystics and a loss for the Atlanta Dream on Sunday night could lead to the Mystics taking the No. 2 seed in the playoff rankings. The difference in the seed position would mean two bye rounds instead of one. Elena Delle Donne continues to lead the Mystics with 21 points and 7.3 rebounds per game on the season.

The Lynx are coming off of a 96-79 loss to the Connecticut Sun on Friday night and are heading into their last game of the regular season on a three-game losing streak. In the loss, Sylvia Fowles had 25 points and 8 rebounds, while Maya Moore had 12 points and 7 rebounds.

Via Swish Appeal

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The Game

GameThread: Dream, Mercury play for higher playoff seeds at 6 p.m ET

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Every WNBA team is playing on Sunday to close out the regular season. Here’s the preview for the three games at 6 p.m. ET.


Las Vegas Aces (14-19) vs. Atlanta Dream (22-11)

When: Sunday, August 19 at 6 p.m. ET

Where: Mandalay Bay Events Center | TICKETS

How to watch: ESPN3 (national streaming) | AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain (Las Vegas-area TV) | WNBA League Pass (worldwide streaming)

Injury report: Angel McCoughtry (knee) is out for the Dream.

Storylines to follow

The Aces are eliminated from the playoffs, but they can still play spoiler for the Dream. If they beat Atlanta in their season finale and the Mystics defeat the Lynx later tonight, the Dream will fall to the third seed while the Mystics move up to second. That said, the Aces probably don’t feel enthusiastic about helping the Mystics. They forfeited a game to Washington a couple weeks ago and the Mystics were pretty adamant that the Aces should have played instead.


Phoenix Mercury (19-14) vs. New York Liberty (7-26)

When: Sunday, August 19 at 6 p.m. ET

Where: Talking Stick Resort Arena | TICKETS

How to watch: ESPN3 (national streaming) | MSG Plus (New York-area TV) | WNBA League Pass (worldwide streaming)

Injury report: Sancho Lyttle (knee) is out for the Mercury. Epiphanny Prince (knee) and Shavonte Zellous (ankle) are out for the Liberty.

Storylines to follow

The Mercury will finish their regular season against the Liberty, who have lost 12 straight heading into tonight. If the Mercury win, they could finish higher than sixth if the Sparks lose to the Sun when these teams tip off. If not, they will at least host a playoff game against the Lynx. The Liberty are playing for pride at this point, and it remains to be seen if they can do it.


Chicago Sky (13-20) vs. Indiana Fever (5-28)

When: Sunday, August 19 at 6 p.m. ET

Where: Wintrust Arena | TICKETS

How to watch: ESPN3 (national streaming) | The U Too (Chicago-area TV)

Injury report: Jamierra Faulkner (knee) is out for the Sky while Shenise Johnson (knee) is out for the Fever.

Storylines to follow

Like Tamryn mentioned on Saturday, the Sky and Fever are out of playoff contention. That said, the two teams are still playing in something of a playoff series by default, since this game is the second half of a back-to-back for both teams.

On Saturday, the Sky won on Indiana’s home floor with Courtney Vandersloot getting another near triple-double while rookie Diamond DeShields scored 24 points of her own. Meanwhile for Indiana, head coach Pokey Chatman is still preferring to start veteran Cappie Pondexter over standout rookie Kelsey Mitchell. Will that change in the final game when both teams really don’t have much more than pride to play for in their season finales?

Via Swish Appeal

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