Digest: McCoughtry scores 37 as Dream beats Storm in first round of WNBA playoffs

From Sun staff and news services
Angel McCoughtry wills the Atlanta Dream to victory in a single-elimination game.

Angel McCoughtry (St. Frances) scored 37 points and the Atlanta Dream beat the visiting Seattle Storm, 94-85, on Wednesday night in a single-elimination WNBA playoff game.

McCoughtry scored seven straight points — on a 3-pointer, bank shot and pull-up jumper — to cap Atlanta's 19-5 run to start the fourth for an 85-71 lead. She collided with Breanna Stewart on Seattle's next possession and stayed on the ground before being helped to the bench by the Atlanta staff. She later returned.

Bria Holmes added 21 points for Atlanta, which will face the Chicago Sky on Sunday. Atlanta was without its second leading scorer Tiffany Hayes, who was serving a one-game suspension after picking up her seventh technical foul. The Dream's second leading rebounder, Sancho Lyttle, did not play because of a foot injury.

McCoughtry, who picked up her fourth foul early in the third, made two free throws with 1:11 left in the quarter to give Atlanta a 66-64 lead — its first since 21-20.

Jewell Loyd scored 24 points and Stewart added 19 points in their first career playoff games for Seattle. Stewart had 15 points in the first half and Loyd scored 12 as Seattle held a 45-37 halftime lead.

Before the game, Atlanta forward Elizabeth Williams was named the WNBA's Most Improved Player.

The game was played at Georgia Tech, where the Dream will play for the next two seasons.

More WNBA: Diana Taurasi scored 20 points, DeWanna Bonner had 11 of her 18 points in the fourth quarter and the Phoenix Mercury beat the Indiana Fever, 89-78, in another single-elimination game.

Tamika Catchings, who played in her final game, and the entire Indiana team knelt with their arms intertwined during the national anthem. Two members of the Mercury, Kelsey Bone and Mistie Bass, also took a knee.

"This game of basketball is important for a lot of reasons. One of them is bringing people together. Even uniting people," Catchings said about the "impromptu" kneeling during the national anthem. "Well, we thought it was important to have a voice about something greater than basketball."

WNBA president Lisa Borders, who was in Atlanta for the playoff game between the Dream and Seattle backed the players choice to kneel.

"I support our players expressing their views on important social issues," Borders said in a statement. "Standing for an anthem is a sign of respect and a demonstration of unity across many cultures throughout the world. The call to action is for all of us to invest time and resources to help rebuild and strengthen our communities. And we have been actively working with the players on this next impactful effort."

Briann January made a reverse layup with 2:39 remaining to pull Indiana to 77-72 and she drew an offensive foul on Taurasi on the other end. Erlana Larkins had a putback on Indiana's next possession to cap a 10-1 run to make it 77-74.

But Phoenix answered with a 6-1 run — on free throws by Taurasi, Penny Taylor and Bonner — for an 83-75 lead.

Brittney Griner added 18 points, nine rebounds and three blocks for Phoenix, which will play at New York on Saturday. Bonner was just 2-for-5 from the field in the first half.

Catchings and Marissa Coleman (Maryland) each scored 13 points as all five starters for Indiana scored in double figures.

Shenise Johnson made two free throws to tie Tiffany Mitchell's franchise record with 42 consecutive made free throws.

Catchings left the floor at the final buzzer to a standing ovation from the crowd and she hugged every Indiana teammate, including a long embrace with January. Then she hugged each player on the Phoenix team.

Before the game, Catchings received the 2016 Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award prior to the opening tip. She is the first three-time winner since the award's inception in 1997.

Journalism

'Sports & The Flag' discussion at UM

The Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism at the University of Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism will convene a free panel discussion on the intersection of sports and the American flag at 7 p.m. Oct. 5 at the Eaton Theater of Knight Hall.

"Sports & The Flag: Where We Stand" will be moderated by Povich Center director George Solomon and Merrill College visiting professor Kevin Blackistone.

Panelists will be Christine Brennan, a USA Today columnist; Kevin Merida, editor-in-chief of The Undefeated; former Ravens cornerback Domonique Foxworth (Maryland, Western Tech), a senior writer at The Undefeated; Jared Ball, a professor at Morgan State; Roger Cossack, a legal analyst at ESPN; and Ray Schoenke, a former NFL lineman.

Paralympics

Snyder, Meyers, T. McFadden are finalists for top awards

Baltimore-area Paralympic athletes Brad Snyder, Becca Meyers and Tatyana McFadden are up for individual Team USA Awards in voting that ends Friday at 5 p.m.

Baltimore resident Snyder, a former Navy swimming captain who was blinded after stepping on an improvised explosive device while serving in the Navy in Kandahar, Afghanistan, is a finalist for Male Athlete of the Paralympic Games after winning four medals — three gold and a silver.

Meyers, a swimmer from Timonium who attended Notre Dame Prep, and McFadden, a wheelchair racer from Clarksville who attended Atholton, are finalists for Female Athlete of the Paralympic Games.

Meyers won three gold medals and a silver while setting three world records.

McFadden won a medal in all six of the individual events she entered, winning four gold and two silver.

The women's wheelchair basketball team, featuring Gail Gaeng of Frederick, and the men's wheelchair basketball team, which includes Trevon Jenifer of Huntingtown, are finalists for the best team. Voting is at awards.teamusa.org.

The winners will be announced during the Team USA Awards, which start at 7 p.m. next Thursday at Georgetown's McDonough Arena in Washington. The ceremony will air Oct.4 on NBC Sports Network at 10 p.m.

Et cetera

Vets Donatelli, Dos Santos return to Blast for 2016-17

The Blast re-signed midfielder Tony Donatelli and defender Adriano Dos Santos. Donatelli is entering his fifth season with the Blast and his seventh year of professional indoor soccer. Last season, he finished 19th in the Major Arena Soccer League in points with 17 goals and 17 assists, then he added four goals and seven assists in the postseason, including the overtime goal to win the championship in Hermosillo, Mexico. Dos Santos, the club's longest-tenured defender, has 46 goals, 32 assists, and 50 blocks during his career, including 10, seven and 17 last season. They join six Blast players who already under contract: Vini Dantas, Andrew Hoxie, Jonatas Melo, Juan Pereira, Sofiane Tergou and William Vanzela.

Laurel Park: WinStar Farm LLC's American Patriot was among 10 3-year-olds entered in Saturday's $200,000 Commonwealth Derby (G2), bringing Grade 1 stakes-placed credentials into the 11/8-mile turf stakes presented by the Virginia Equine Alliance. Todd Pletcher-trained American Patriot is coming off a third-place finish in the Aug. 13 Secretariat (G1) at Arlington Park. The son of War Front rallied in the stretch to finish three-quarters of a length behind victorious Beach Patrol.

Men's college soccer: Maryland sophomore forward Gordon Wild was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week. ... The National Junior College Athletic Association named Anne Arundel Community College sophomore midfielder Garrett McClendon (South River) Division III Player of the Week. ... Tickets for the Army-Navy game at Talen Energy Stadium in Philadelphia at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 23, are on sale. Tickets are $20 for general admission and $30 for reserved seating. For more information, go to navysports.com/sports/m-soccer.

Women's college soccer: Howard Community College (5-2) moved into the NJCAA Division III Top 10 at No. 9.

Baseball: The Miami Marlins released former Orioles second baseman Robert Andino.

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