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WNBA: George's career day steers Mercury to victory
It was a mixed week for the Australians in the WNBA this week, both on a personal level and in terms of results. Cayla George had easily the best performance, with her massive double-double proving vital in Phoenix’s bounce-back win over Chicago following a disappointing overtime loss to Atlanta earlier.
Seattle’s Sami Whitcomb had a tough start to the week, but the same could be said for many of the Storm players. Whitcomb was afforded just five minutes of playing time and failed to register a basket in her side’s low-scoring 68-60 loss to Los Angeles. Fortunately, both the Storm and Whitcomb bounced back against Dallas. Seattle dominated the early proceedings to open up a lead on their way to a 109-93 win. Used in short bursts, Whitcomb played just ten minutes split across all four quarters, but hitting 3 of 4 from beyond the arc to tally 9 points and a highlight-reel assist.
From heartbroken to heartbreakers in the space of three days, Bec Allen and New York were on either end of a one-point margin this week.
The Liberty stormed back from an eight point halftime deficit against the ladder-leading Minnesota Lynx, but a potential game-winner in the final seconds from Sugar Rodgers failed to find the mark, leaving the Liberty agonisingly short of an upset win, going down 75-76. Allen was solid off the bench, contributing 8 points on 50% shooting and 4 rebounds in 17 minutes of action.
The Liberty had to reel in a lead in their second game of the week against Indiana, and managed to take a lead into the final minute. Indiana managed to draw the margin within a solitary point with three seconds to play, but New York held on for an 85-84 victory. Allen was used more sparingly in this contest, failing to tally a point in her 7 minutes on court.
It was certainly an exciting week for Phoenix and their Australian trio, even if it wasn’t always for the right reasons. The Mercury gave up an 18 point lead to Atlanta in their first game after the All Star break, eventually being forced to overtime by a last second Brittany Sykes layup for the Dream. Phoenix capitulated in a 15-7 overtime period to throw away what looked to be a certain win. Leilani Mitchell was best performed of the Aussies with 11 points and 5 assists, whilst Cayla George added 8 points and Steph Talbot tallied a single basket for 2 points.
Saturday’s game saw Phoenix give up an early lead to Chicago before dominating the second quarter to take a halftime lead. Chicago hit back in the third quarter to lead briefly, but Phoenix, thanks in large part to George, recovered to secure a narrow 86-80 win. The Townsville Fire forward equalled her WNBA career high for points with 14, and set a new WNBA career high for rebounds with 14 boards, completing a vital double-double in the undoubted performance of the week amongst the Australians. Mitchell was again dishing, if not swishing, to finish with 5 assists, no points, and one giant block on 6'5 Stefanie Dolson. Talbot failed to score in her 8 minutes on court.