Reigning champion Mystics keep playoff hopes alive with tight win over Lynx

Myisha Hines-Allen had 26 points, nine rebounds and four assists, Tianna Hawkins made four straight free throws in the final eight seconds and the defending WNBA champion Washington Mystics beat the Minnesota Lynx 89-86 on Tuesday night to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Washington (6-13), which has won two of its last three following a five-game losing streak, is one-game behind the Dallas Wings for the final playoff spot with three games to play.

Ariel Atkins gave Washington a 85-78 lead with 2:06 remaining, but Minnesota scored the next six points before Hawkins sealed it at the free-throw line.

Emma Meesseman and Atkins each scored 18 points for Washington. Leilani Mitchell had 10 assists and Hawkins finished with 14 points in 17 minutes.

Hines-Allen scored 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting in the first quarter to help Washington take a 24-20 lead. She narrowly missed her sixth double-double in the last nine games.

Napheesa Collier had 21 points and 11 rebounds and rookie Crystal Dangerfield added 20 points and seven assists for Minnesota (13-7). Odyssey Sims scored 17 points and Damiris Dantas had 14.

Canadian Bridget Carleton added four points and seven rebounds in 28 minutes for the Lynx.

Nurse nets 13 in another Liberty loss

Nneka Ogwumike had 20 points, eight rebounds and five assists, Riquna Williams also scored 20 points and the Los Angeles Sparks beat the New York Liberty 96-70 on Tuesday night.

The Sparks (15-5) remained in the hunt for a top-two seed in the post-season.

Candace Parker had eight points, four rebounds and four assists in the first quarter as Los Angeles built a 25-12 lead. The Sparks used a 26-15 third quarter to take a 22-point lead into the fourth.

Parker finished with 14 points, five rebounds and seven assists, and Chelsea Gray had nine assists for Los Angeles (15-5). The Sparks were missing two starters as Brittney Sykes did not play after taking a knee to the stomach in the third quarter on Sunday. Sydney Wiese also hurt her ankle in the game.

Jocelyn Willoughby scored 21 points, making all five of her 3-pointers, for New York (2-17), which has lost five straight. Canada’s Kia Nurse had 13 points and seven rebounds and Paris Kea scored 11.

Willoughby scored 13 of New York’s 31 first-half points, but the Liberty still trailed by 11 points at the break.

Aces edge Fever to take control of 2nd

A’ja Wilson had 22 points, 16 rebounds and three blocks, Jackie Young added 17 points and seven assists and the Las Vegas Aces beat the Indiana Fever 92-86 on Tuesday night.

Second-place Las Vegas (15-4) is a game behind Seattle for the top seed in the playoffs. The two teams play on Sunday in the season finale. The Aces are also a half-game in front of Los Angeles for the second spot. The Aces play the Sparks on Saturday.

Angel McCoughtry scored 15 points and Dearica Hamby had 13 for Las Vegas, which led by 20 points before holding off the charging Fever (5-15).

Kelsey Mitchell led Indiana with 24 points and Julie Allemand added 19, hitting six 3-pointers. Candice Dupree added 16 points and Teaira McCowan had 12 points and nine rebounds for the Fever, who were eliminated from playoff contention.

Allemand tied the Indiana record for 3-pointers by a rookie, and she was one away from tying the league rookie record.

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