Mercury, Dream advance in first round

Tonight’s first-round playoff action:

The Mercury defeated the Fever, 89-87.

The Dream ousted the Storm, 94-85.

With Indiana’s loss, Tamika Catchings is officially retired.

(Make sure you get tissues before you open that last story and see the video)

Second round:

Also single-elimination, will be Mercury at Liberty, 7 p.m. Eastern Saturday and Dream at Sky, 1 p.m. Eastern Sunday.

WNBA playoffs:

Some feel the new format adds excitement.

(I’m personally not digging it)

WNBA team news:

The Fever knelt during the National Anthem tonight, joined by the Mercury’s Mistie Bass and Kelsey Bone.

Catchings on why the team knelt.

WNBA players news:

Tamika Catchings won the Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award.

The Dream’s Elizabeth Williams won the most improved player award.

Q&A with Sparks forward Candace Parker.

Mercury guard Diana Taurasi is Argentinian and Italian.

WNBA coach news:

From South Jersey to La Salle to WNBA royalty.