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Recap: Mercury rout Wings, Sparks edge out Lynx in first round of WNBA Playoffs

Phoenix beat Dallas 101-83, while Los Angeles beat Minnesota 75-68. Both winning teams now travel to the East Coast to play in Thursday’s second-round games.

Chelsea Gray of the LA Sparks scored 26 points against rival Minnesota Lynx.
Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images

In Tuesday’s first-round playoff games, the Mercury dispatched the struggling Wings, while the Lynx saw Lindsay Whalen’s historic career come to an end as they lost to the Sparks. Here are the highlights of tonight’s games.

Phoenix Mercury (101) vs. Dallas Wings (83)

After a close and high-scoring first half from both teams, Phoenix used a dominant second half to surge ahead and pick up the first-round victory, eliminating Dallas from the playoffs.

While the Wings shot a respectable 45.6 percent, the Mercury made a blistering 54.2 percent of their shots, including 13-of-29 from beyond the arc. Three Mercury players had double-doubles: DeWanna Bonner (29 points, 11 rebounds), Diana Taurasi (26 points, 12 assists) and Stephanie Talbot (11 points, 11 rebounds), with Brittney Griner adding 17 points.

For the Wings, Skylar Diggins-Smith led the way with 23 points and 7 assists, with Liz Cambage adding 22 points and 12 rebounds.

The Mercury will travel to Connecticut to face the Sun in the second of two Thursday evening second-round games.

Los Angeles Sparks (75) vs. Minnesota Lynx (68)

In a classic low-scoring affair, the Sparks overcame several Lynx comebacks in the final quarter to eliminate Minnesota and end Lindsay Whalen’s storied career in the first round of the playoffs.

Chelsea Gray exploded for 26 points to lead all scorers, shooting 52.9 percent and going 4-for-8 from three. Nneka Ogwumike added 19 points, while Riquna Williams had 17. The Sparks were outshot for the game, 46 to 43.5 percent, but converted 7 of 19 from beyond the arc, including several threes at key moments.

Minnesota struggled mightily from from the free throw line, especially late in the game, going just 6-for-11. Leading Minnesota were Sylvia Fowles’ 18 points and 12 rebounds, Temi Fagbenle’s 15 points and Maya Moore’s 14 points.

The Sparks will travel to Washington to play the Mystics in the first of Thursday’s two second-round games.

How to #WatchThemWork during the 2018 WNBA Playoffs