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Roundup: Stewie wins battle between players who could one day be No. 1 and No. 2 all-time

Breanna Stewart dropped 43 points and her New York Liberty overcame Diana Taurasi’s 23 for the Phoenix Mercury. Plus, wins for the Las Vegas Aces, Minnesota Lynx and Connecticut Sun.

Phoenix Mercury v New York Liberty
Breanna Stewart rises up for a shot over Diana Taurasi.
Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images

Diana Taurasi is not as consistent at this point of her career as she used to be. Over her previous five games entering Wednesday, she scored zero, 13, six, 17 and seven points, respectively.

A critic would say that she only feels motivated for certain games. Whether that assessment is fair to her or not, we can agree that it’s fun to watch when she does still show up. And you knew that a matchup against GOAT-in-waiting Breanna Stewart and the superteam New York Liberty in Brooklyn with Sue Bird in attendance was a game she was going to want to take over.

Well, the 41-year-old Taurasi was brilliant with a season-high-tying 23 points (5-of-9 from three), five rebounds and seven assists. But the 28-year-old, right-in-the-middle-of-her-prime Stewart was out of this world with 43 points, 12 boards, six helpers and two blocks, strengthening her case for a second career MVP award, something Taurasi will almost certainly never attain.

Stewart made the biggest basket of the game: a little floater off the glass that made it 98-95 Liberty with 18.4 seconds remaining. New York held on to defeat Taurasi’s Phoenix Mercury 99-95, improving to 12-4. The Mercury came back from down 20 and took a 94-92 lead with 1:51 to play but fell to 3-13.

Other Wednesday action

Las Vegas Aces (16-1) over Dallas Wings (8-9), 89-82

The Aces came back from down 14 to win this one. Playing just seven players, Vegas received 28 points, seven rebounds and five assists from Jackie Young, 22 points, 13 boards and three blocks from A’ja Wilson and 20 points, five rebounds and six helpers from Chelsea Gray.

Natasha Howard dropped 32 points to go along with 13 boards and three assists in defeat. Arike Ogunbowale (12 points) shot just 5-of-20 from the field.

Minnesota Lynx (8-9) over Indiana Fever (5-12), 90-83

Napheesa Collier’s 32 points and eight rebounds led the way for Minnesota. Kayla McBride added 21 points, reaching 18-plus for the third time in four games after three straight in single digits. She added six boards and three assists, was 3-of-7 from deep and was 6-of-6 at the charity stripe.

Aliyah Boston posted 22 points, nine rebounds, two steals and two blocks in defeat. She was 8-of-9 from the field and 6-of-6 on free throws.

Atlanta Dream (8-8) over Los Angeles Sparks (7-11), 90-79

Thursday action

Connecticut Sun (13-5) over Seattle Storm (4-13), 93-73

This one was over long before the final buzzer, so it didn’t matter that the Storm won the fourth by 15.

Eleven first-quarter helpers from Connecticut matched a franchise high. The 33-point Sun advantage at the break was also noteworthy: no team has led by more at that juncture in 2023.

Connecticut superstar Alyssa Thomas may have been on her way to a triple-double, but played just 22:46, finishing with 16 points, five rebounds, seven assists and three steals. DeWanna Bonner, Rebecca Allen, Tiffany Hayes, Natisha Hiedeman and Tyasha Harris joined her in double-figure scoring and went a combined 9-of-12 from beyond the arc.