WNBA's Phoenix Mercury starts title defense with close win
Penny Taylor made two free throws with 1.5 seconds left to lift the defending WNBA champion Phoenix Mercury to a 78-77 victory over the visiting Los Angeles Sparks in the league's season opener Saturday.
Taylor caught the ensuing long inbounds pass and held the ball until the buzzer.
Noelle Quinn had hit a 12-foot bank shot with 4.7 seconds left to give the Sparks a 77-76 lead after Phoenix's Diana Taurasi made two free throws with 17.8 seconds remaining.
Taurasi scored five of her 14 points in the final five minutes, Candice Dupree had 17 points and 10 rebounds, and Taylor added 16 points.
Candace Parker scored 24 points for the Sparks, including a key basket in the final minute, and grabbed 12 rebounds.
-- SUN 74, SKY 61: Tina Charles had 17 points and 10 rebounds in her pro debut as Connecticut opened its season with a home win over Chicago.
Charles, the national player of the year at U-Conn. and the top pick in the WNBA draft, had 15 points and nine rebounds at the half as the Sun built a 42-33 lead.
Sylvia Fowles led the Sky with 16 points and nine rebounds.
Connecticut started four players who were not on its roster at the end of last season, including Charles and her former college teammate Renee Montgomery.
Anete Jekabsone-Zogota was 4 of 6 from three-point range and led the Sun with 18 points. Kara Lawson added 10 points.
-- DREAM 75, SILVER STARS 70: Iziane Castro-Marques scored 23 points and Angel McCoughtry added 20 as Atlanta held off host San Antonio.
McCoughtry scored seven points in an 11-1 run midway through the first quarter to put the Dream up for good. Sancho Lyttle scored 16 points, and Erika de Souza added 11 points and 15 rebounds for Atlanta.
Becky Hammon scored seven of her 20 points in the fourth period for the Silver Stars.