Sylvia Fowles, Napheesa Collier lead Lynx past Sun

Centre Sylvia Fowles had 17 points, 18 rebounds, four blocks and two assists, leading the Minnesota Lynx to a 77-69 win over the Connecticut Sun on Sunday afternoon at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.

Minnesota rallied from an 11-point deficit in the WNBA season opener for both teams.

Fowles, a six-time All-Star and the only player still on Minnesota’s roster from their 2015 and 2017 championship teams, made 7 of 11 field goals.

Minnesota forward Napheesa Collier, the league’s reigning Rookie of the Year, overcame severe foul trouble to produce 11 points, eight rebounds and four assists.

Centre Kayla Alexander from Milton, Ont., contributed two points for Minnesota in the win while also picking up a pair of fouls.

WATCH | Canadian Kayla Alexander contributes in Lynx win:

Minnesota Lynx beat Connecticut Sun 77-69, Kayla Alexander from Milton, Ont., records 2 points.  0:19

Collier picked up three fouls in a scoreless first half and was hit with her fourth personal early in the third quarter before helping her team rally in the final period. She finally fouled out with 1:11 left.

Two-time All-Star forward Alyssa Thomas led the Sun with 20 points, eight rebounds, four assists and four steals.

DeWanna Bonner, a three-time All-Star who was acquired in February in exchange for three first-round picks, added 19 points and eight rebounds for the Sun. She was 0 for 6 from 3-point range.

Connecticut dominated the first half, holding Minnesota to 32.1-percent shooting from the floor, including 0 for 8 on 3-pointers. The Sun led 37-28 at the break, and their lead could’ve been larger had it not been for poor foul shooting (9 of 18).

Minnesota cut its deficit to 57-50 after three quarters, and the Lynx, who had led just once — at 2-0, an advantage that lasted for just 14 seconds — finally went back on top 60-59 with 6:21 left in the fourth on Fowles’ layup.

The Lynx took off from there, shooting 41.8 percent from the floor for the game. Connecticut shot 34.8 percent.

Both teams were without star players: Jonquel Jones for Connecticut and Odyssey Sims for Minnesota.

Rookie forward Mikiah Herbert Harrigan, Minnesota’s first-round pick, was not used.

Allie Quigley’s late 3-pointer helps Sky rally past Aces

Allie Quigley drained a 3-point basket with 15.3 seconds to play as the Chicago Sky completed a comeback to defeat the Las Vegas Aces 88-86 in the season opener for both teams Sunday afternoon at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.

Chicago scored the game’s last 11 points.

The Aces didn’t score in the final four minutes, with a missed shot by Sugar Rodgers and, following another chance when the ball went out of bounds off Chicago, a turnover dashing their hopes.

Chicago Sky guard Allie Quigley, right, goes up to shoot in front of Las Vegas Aces guard Kayla McBride during the second half on Sunday in Bradenton, Fla. (Phelan M. Ebenhack/The Associated Press)

Kahleah Cooper led Chicago with 18 points, Gabby Williams pumped in 14, Azura Stevens chipped in 14 and Quigley finished with 10.

Angel McCoughtry poured in 25 points for Las Vegas in a grand return to action after a career-threatening injury. A’ja Wilson added 22 points and 11 rebounds for the Aces.

McCoughtry, who hadn’t played since 2018 because of knee injuries, signed with Las Vegas as a free agent in February. She has made five All-Star Game appearances and has more than 5,000 career points.

Dearica Hamby provided 14 points and eight rebounds off the Las Vegas bench. She had the team’s last points on a layup at the 4:29 mark.

The Aces were without the benefit of a 3-point basket. They were 0-for-5 from long range. The Sky were 9-for-27 from long distance.

The Aces built several double-digit leads only to have Chicago rally. The Sky trimmed an 86-77 hole to 86-85 before the winning shot.

On the possession prior to taking the lead, Chicago had three chances to go ahead, missing two shots and then committing a turnover with 39 seconds left.

McCoughtry missed a jumper, leading to a Chicago timeout to set up the winning sequence.

The Sky scored the last 10 points of the first half to pull within 48-46 at the break. Courtney Vandersloot posted the first eight points of that surge.

McCoughtry and Wilson accounted for half of Las Vegas’ first-half points. The Aces then scored the first 10 points of the second half to rebuild their lead to a dozen.

Billings’ career-best outing helps Dream defeat Wings

Monique Billings scored a career-high 30 points for the hot-shooting Atlanta Dream in a 105-95 victory against the Dallas Wings in the season opener for both teams Sunday at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.

Billings, a forward, made 10 of 14 shots from the field and went 10-for-12 at the foul line while pulling in a game-high 13 rebounds. Teammate Elizabeth Williams made all seven of her attempts from the floor on the way to 17 points.

Betnijah Laney’s 19 and Chennedy Carter’s 18 points were also boosts for the Dream, who scored the game’s last eight points. Shekinna Stricklen, buoyed by four 3-point baskets, racked up 16 points.

Atlanta made 30 of 34 free throws.

Billings, a third-year pro, had a previous career-high total of 16 points in a game last July. She also had a game-high two blocked shots in Sunday’s game.

Arike Ogunbowale and Allisha Gray scored 19 points apiece for the Wings, who also received 18 points and 10 rebounds from Isabelle Harrison. Tyasha Harris had 13 points and Satou Sabally supplied 11 points.

Atlanta Dream forward Monique Billings, top, goes up to shoot in front of Dallas Wings forward Satou Sabally, bottom left, and guard Allisha Gray, right, during the second half of a WNBA basketball game Sunday, July 26, 2020, in Bradenton, Fla. (Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press)

The Wings relied on perimeter scoring, hitting 13 of 28 shots from 3-point range. However, they missed their final five shots, including four from 3-point range.

Dallas reserves held a 35-5 scoring edge but it wasn’t enough.

Atlanta had difficulty pulling away.

The Dream appeared to regain control with five straight points midway through the fourth quarter, building a 93-81 edge. The Wings responded with six points in a 25-second span, resulting in an Atlanta timeout with 3:14 left.

Dallas was within 97-95 before Atlanta’s Williams scored from the lane with 1:25 to go. Billings then sank two free throws with 47 seconds to play to expand the margin.

The Dream shot 63.6 percent (21-for-33) in the first half yet led only 53-49 at the break.

Gray and Harris, both reserves, both had 11 points in the first half for Dallas.

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