Sophia Young-Malcolm has three games left in a WNBA career she’s spent entirely with the San Antonio Stars.
It’s ending rather uneventfully with the Stars possessing the league’s worst record, but a victory in her final home contest certainly would provide a thrilling exit.
Young-Malcolm looks to help the Stars snap an eight-game losing streak, while the Phoenix Mercury hope to spoil her farewell to the home fans Saturday night.
The 10-year veteran announced Aug. 26 that she would retire after this season. She’ll leave as a four-time All-Star and the franchise’s all-time leading scorer after helping San Antonio to seven playoff appearances and a Western Conference championship in 2008.
The Stars (7-24) won’t be heading to the postseason this year, though, and haven’t won since beating Seattle on Aug. 8. Young-Malcolm scored only six points Friday and her air ball with 14 seconds left gave Connecticut possession.
The Sun’s Kelsey Bone then hit a layup with 1.8 seconds left to defeat the Stars 73-72 despite Kayla McBride’s 17 points. Young-Malcolm hopes her curtain call in San Antonio ends with a better result.
She scored 21 points – her second-most of the season – in a 76-71 home win over the Mercury (18-13) on June 25, but San Antonio lost the other two meetings in Phoenix.
Candice Dupree finished with 18 points and Brittney Griner added 16 to lead the playoff-bound Mercury past Washington 73-53 on Wednesday. With the game out of reach, the starters played limited minutes late as Phoenix scored 33 points off the bench.
DeWanna Bonner, fifth in the league in scoring at 16.3 points per game, tied her season low with four. The Mercury, though, were able to snap a two-game skid and trail Minnesota by three games for the top spot in the West.
"We had a rocky August, but like I keep saying, it’s September and we learned from the past and we’re just focused on being the best team we can now," coach Sandy Brondello told the team’s official website. "We came with the appropriate energy. We played smart and executed the (game plan). So it was a good win, we needed that. We’ve been struggling a little bit but now it’s just about being consistent."
Griner missed the first two meetings with the Stars while serving a seven-game suspension to start the season. She scored 23 points as the Mercury won 85-78 on June 30 in the most recent matchup.