Kelsey Plum, Jackie Young lead Aces to tough win over Mercury in regular-season finale

Kelsey Plum scored 23 points, Jackie Young scored on a putback with 4.3 seconds left and Ji-Su Park blocked a final shot as the Las Vegas Aces defeated the Phoenix Mercury 84-83 in Phoenix, Az., on Sunday in a regular-season finale.

The Aces welcomed back centre Liz Cambage, who had been out since Aug. 28 with COVID-19. She had four points and four rebounds in about 9 1/2 minutes of play.

Plum scored 13 straight Las Vegas points, and the last seven in the game to pull the Aces within 83-82 with just less than a minute to play. After a Phoenix miss, Plum missed a shot for the lead but Destiny Slocum hustled the offensive rebound. Plum drove again and her shot rimmed out, leaving a wide-open Young to put in the winner.

Brianna Turner drove to the rim for the Mercury as time ran out but her short floater was blocked by Park.

The game had no playoff implications. Las Vegas (24-8) is the No. 2 seed and has a double-bye and nine days off before playing the highest remaining seed in the semifinals. Phoenix (19-13), the five seed, is home against the eight seed on Thursday.

Las Vegas had balanced scoring behind Plum with Riquna Williams scoring 13 points and Chelsea Gray and Dearica Hamby adding 12 each but most of the key players were out down the stretch.

The Mercury also sat MVP candidate Britney Griner in the second half and were without Diana Taurasi, who remains out with an ankle injury. Skylar Diggins-Smith led the way with 17 points and Kia Nurse had 13, the pair combining for seven of 14 3-pointers, which matched a Mercury season high.

Lynx shut playoff window closed on Mystics with victory

Aerial Powers scored 27 points and the Minnesota Lynx made four free throws in the final 30 seconds to knock the Washington Mystics out of playoff contention with an 83-77 win on Sunday, the final day of the WNBA season.

Needing a win to secure the eighth seed, the Mystics cut a 12-point deficit with less than 4 1/2 minutes to go to 79-77 when Ariel Atkins made two free throws.

Layshia Clarendon made two free throws with 27.5 seconds to play and Powers followed with two more following a turnover to seal the win.

Minnesota (22-10) also claimed the third seed and a first-round bye when the playoffs start on Thursday. The Lynx will play the lowest remaining seed in the second round next Sunday.

Playing without injured starter Elena Delle Donne and head coach Mike Thibault, who missed a second-straight game because of COVID protocol, the Mystics were tied at halftime. The Lynx took charge in the third quarter and led 68-58 heading into the fourth quarter.

Napheesa Collier added 14 points and 10 rebounds for Minnesota and Sylvia Fowles had eight points and 13 boards.

Natasha Cloud scored 22 points for Washington, Atkins added 17 and Tina Charles had 14 with 13 rebounds.

Sun dominate Dream en route to 14th straight win

Natisha Hiedeman scored 16 points off the bench, Brionna Jones had a double-double and the Connecticut Sun closed out the WNBA regular season with a 14-game winning streak, topping the Atlanta Dream 84-64 on Sunday in Uncasville, Conn.

The Sun (26-6) finished 15-1 at home and the regular-season champions will have nine days off before playing in the semifinals against the lowest remaining seed. The Dream (8-24) did not make the playoffs.

MVP candidate Jonquel Jones scored 15 points and fellow All-Star Brionna Jones added 14 with 10 rebounds. The third All-Star for the Sun, DeWanna Bonner, left the game after two minutes with a tight back and did not return.

Connecticut led 46-37 at the half and spent the second half with a double-figure lead after Jasmine Thomas made back-to-back baskets for a 53-40 lead.

The Sun went 8 of 21 from 3-point range while the Dream were 2 of 20.

Courtney Williams had 18 points and eight rebounds for the Dream, who were outrebounded 48-33.

Original article: https://www.cbc.ca/sports/basketball/wnba-roundup-recap-sept-19-1.6181911?cmp=rss

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