East shows its better than West in head-to-head matchups
NEW YORK (AP) Bragging rights for the regular season belong to the Eastern Conference.
For the first time in five years, the East will win the head-to-head matchup with the West as it leads 39-19. With only 14 inter-conference games remaining, the East has already clinched a winning record. Last season, the West was 44-28.
It's only the sixth time in the 19-year history of the league that the East had a better record, according to STATS.
New York coach Bill Laimbeer credits the East's success to its teams' stellar defenses.
''You look at Indiana, Washington, us, we all play really well on that end of the floor,'' he said. ''That makes a difference to keep games close and come away with victories.''
The Liberty are 8-2 against the West this season. Washington, which sits in fourth place in the East, has lost just once to the West. Connecticut (12-14) is three games out of the playoffs in the Eastern Conference right now. They would be a half-game out of third in the West after winning eight of 10 against that conference.
STAT OF THE WEEK: The Indiana Fever finished off a successful road trip, winning all four games. The four-game winning streak away from home is the longest in franchise history. Indiana beat Los Angeles, rallying from a double-digit deficit in the first half. The Fever then topped Seattle before capping the week with a home win over New York to move within a game of the Liberty for first place in the East. Indiana has won six in a row overall and nine of 10 since the All-Star break.
LAST-SECOND LOSSES: The Washington Mystics dropped their two games this weekend to the Chicago Sky on shots in the final seconds. Allie Quigley hit a 3-pointer with 2.1 seconds remaining on Friday in an 87-85 win. Cappie Pondexter made a layup with 6.7 left on Sunday to give the Sky a 66-64 victory.
RECORD BREAKER: Atlanta forward DeLisha Milton-Jones stands one game short of tying the WNBA record for career games set by Tina Thompson (496).
She potentially could match Thompson on Tuesday at home when the Dream host the Sun in a matinee game.
''It shows my longevity, but also I give myself a little bit of credit to stay relevant all these years,'' Milton-Jones said. ''Coming off an injury, that process is grueling.''
The 40-year-old forward is in her 17th season and has persevered through a lot this year. She was waived earlier in the season by Atlanta - the first time that's happened during her career. She was then re-signed to a series of seven-day contracts before finally being picked up for the remainder of the season this past week.
''If you're in this league long enough you'll see and experience everything,'' she said. ''I've seen other players go through being waived and gave them a helping hand throughout that process. Now I'm my own life coach throughout this process.''
STRONG SHOOTING NIGHT: The Atlanta Dream broke or tied a few records in their 102-92 win over the Sun on Sunday. The Dream were 10 for 12 (.833) from behind the 3-point line in the first half to set a WNBA record for 3-point percentage. They also scored 40 points in the second quarter, which is a record for that period and also matches the highest point total for any quarter in league history.
GAME OF THE WEEK: Lynx at Liberty, Friday. The best in the Western Conference visits the top team in the Eastern Conference. The Lynx have been struggling to find their rhythm since acquiring Sylvia Fowles on July 28. They are just 7-5 since trading for the All-Star center. They were 12-4 before she arrived.
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