Washington, Los Angeles lose and give New York playoff berth
Arike Ogunbowale scored 20 points and the Dallas Wings closed the WNBA regular season on Sunday with an 87-84 victory over Los Angeles, which kept the Sparks out of the playoffs, giving the No. 8 at New York Liberty.
With Los Angeles and Washington losing on the final day, inactive New York (12-20) entered the playoffs holding Liberty holding the three-way tiebreaker. New York will play a first-round knockout game in Phoenix on Thursday.
The Wings (14-18) were stranded in the seventh seed and will play at No.6 Chicago on Thursday.
The Wings led 44-41 at halftime and increased their lead to 13 early in the fourth quarter before the Sparks responded with nine straight points. Twice, Ogunbowale reversed 3 points to restore the lead to seven. The teams traded points, but Allisha Gray missed two free throws – Dallas was 17 of 17 before that – with 7.4 seconds left, giving LA one last chance.
Erica Wheeler, who scored 22 points, missed a final tie attempt in the dying seconds.
LYNX 83, MYSTICS 77
WASHINGTON (AP) – Aerial Powers scored 27 points and the Minnesota Lynx made four free throws in the final 30 seconds to knock the Mystics out of the playoffs with a win on the final day of the WNBA season.
Needing a win to secure the eighth seed, the Mystics reduced a 12-point deficit with less than 4.5 minutes to go to 79-77 when Ariel Atkins made two free throws.
Layshia Clarendon made two free throws with 27.5 seconds left and Powers called with two more following a turnover to seal the victory.
Minnesota (22-10) also won the third seed and a first-round pass when the playoffs begin Thursday. The Lynx will play the lowest seed remaining in the second round next Sunday.
ACES 84, MERCURY 83
PHOENIX (AP) – Kelsey Plum scored 23 points, Jackie Young scored on an out with 4.3 seconds left and Ji-Su Park blocked one final shot as the Aces beat the Mercury.
The Aces welcomed center-back Liz Cambage, who had been absent since August 28 with COVID-19. She had four points and four rebounds in about 9.5 minutes of play.
Plum scored 13 straight points in Las Vegas (24-8) to bring the Aces down to 83-82 with just under a minute to go. After a miss from Phoenix, Plum missed a header but Destiny Slocum shoved the offensive rebound. Plum restarted and his shot circled, leaving a Young wide open to put the winner.
Brianna Turner drove to the rim for the Mercury (19-13) as time passed, but her short float was blocked by Park.
SUN 84, DREAM 64
UNCASVILLE, Connecticut (AP) – Natisha Hiedeman scored 16 points off the bench, Brionna Jones had a double-double and the Sun closed the WNBA regular season with a 14-game winning streak, surpassing Dream.
The Sun (26-6) finished 15-1 at home and the regular season champions will have nine days off before playing the semifinals against the lowest seed. The Dream (8-24) did not make the playoffs.
Courtney Williams had 18 points and eight rebounds for the Dream, which was passed 48-33.
SKY 96, FEVER 87
CHICAGO (AP) – Diamond DeShields scored 30 points, a season record, and Chicago used a 14-4 run to pull away as Sky defeated Fever in the regular season finale.
Chicago (16-16) is the No. 6 seed and will play at home Thursday against Dallas. Indiana (6-26) finished with the WNBA’s worst and likely highest record to secure the No. 1 pick in the 2022 Draft, something the Fever has never had before on previous lottery trips.
Kelsey Mitchell pulled up to shoot Indiana to a tie at 60 with 4 minutes left in the third quarter, but DeShields responded with a pull and then made two free throws as Chicago scored 14 of the next 18 points to take. head for good.