Back from Russia, Mercury’s Griner sets sight on title, MVP

PHOENIX — Brittney Griner is back from Russia and ready to go, with her eye on an MVP trophy and a WNBA championship. The 6-foot-9 center, who has 10 of the 13 regular-season dunks recorded in the WNBA and is a four-time league All-Star, enters her sixth season in the league, and she says she’s a long way from that lanky kid from Baylor who arrived for her first Phoenix Mercury training camp in 2013. “Oh man, when I first walked in here I was green-eyed and, I don’t know,…

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Minnesota Lynx, Target Center to host 2018 WNBA All-Star Game

NEW YORK — The WNBA has awarded the 2018 All-Star game to the Minnesota Lynx, a first for the franchise that will have a remodeled arena to flaunt next season. The league announced Saturday that the annual summer showcase will be played July 28 at Target Center, the home of the Lynx and NBA’s Timberwolves in downtown Minneapolis. The 27-year-old facility has been undergoing a $140 million renovation to be finished next month. The project has forced the Lynx to play home games this season at Xcel Energy Center in…

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Griner’s 6th 30-plus game leads Mercury past Dream to close regular season

PHOENIX — Brittney Griner scored 30 points and the Phoenix Mercury closed the regular season with an 84-70 victory over the Atlanta Dream on Sunday to secure the fifth seed in the playoffs. Phoenix (18-16) will host Seattle on Wednesday night. Griner reached the 30-point mark for the sixth time in her career with a reverse layup with 1:23 remaining in the fourth quarter. She blocked Elizabeth Williams’ shot at the other end. All six of her 30-point games have come this season. Leilani Mitchell added 18 points for Phoenix…

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Associated Press names Lynx’s Sylvia Fowles Player of the Year

NEW YORK — Sylvia Fowles had a stellar year to lead Minnesota to the top seed in the WNBA playoffs. Her efforts earned her Associated Press WNBA Player of the Year honors on Tuesday. The award was chosen by the 15-member media panel that votes for the weekly poll. “It means a lot,” Fowles said in a phone interview. “I think a lot of people forget the work you have to put in. Like I said before, by far this is probably the hardest job to keep up with the…

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Griner’s double-double helps Mercury advance in WNBA playoffs

TEMPE, Ariz. — 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. 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 3-pointer on a cross-court pass for a 73-65 lead. Seattle’s Sue Bird answered with a long 3-pointer but Phoenix closed the game by making six straight free throws.…

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Minnesota Lynx’s Sylvia Fowles named to WNBA All-Defensive first team

Minnesota Lynx star Sylvia Fowles was named to the WNBA All-Defensive first team on Tuesday for the seventh time. The reigning Defensive Player of the Year averaged 10.4 rebounds, 1.97 blocks and 1.29 steals this season, finishing second in blocks and 12th in steals. Lynx teammates Maya Moore and Rebekkah Brunson were named to the All-Defensive second team. The Lynx open postseason play at 7 p.m. Tuesday, when they take on the Washington Mystics at Williams Arena.

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Parker’s layup helps Sparks sweep Mercury

PHOENIX — Candace Parker hobbled into the postgame press conference with ice bags over both knees and slung over her left shoulder. But soreness was a small price to pay for a return trip to the WNBA Finals. Parker drove for a layup with 2.9 seconds to play, giving the Los Angeles Sparks an 89-87 win and three-game sweep of the Phoenix Mercury in the WNBA semifinals Sunday. Parker, a two-time league Most Valuable Player, finished with 21 points and 11 assists. The Mercury’s Brittney Griner missed a shot as…

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Minnesota Lynx stars Fowles, Moore named to All-WNBA first team

Sylvia Fowles and Maya Moore were named Friday to the All-WNBA first team, the second time in franchise that two members of the Minnesota Lynx have been named to the squad. The honor is the third such award for Fowles and fifth for Moore, who has made the first team in each of the last five seasons. Fowles was named the WNBA MVP after averaging 18.9 points, 10.4 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.29 steals and 1.9 blocks during the regular season. Moore averaged 17.3 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists this…

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‘No secrets’ between Lynx, Sparks in Game 5 of Finals rematch

MINNEAPOLIS — Nneka Ogwumike has a bandage under her right eye to mask the stitches she took from an elbow in the paint. Sylvia Fowles’ right eye is red and bloodshot from the battles being waged on the glass. The WNBA Finals rematch between the Los Angeles Sparks and Minnesota Lynx has pushed both teams to their limits, and all that remains is one last game in this season. Winner take all. Again. “It wouldn’t be the finals without a scratch here and there,” Ogwumike said. “I enjoy it. It’s…

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