WNBA playoffs: Aces and Sky win, now one victory from Finals

Aces forward A'ja Wilson claps and smiles as she leaves the court.
Aces forward A’ja Wilson claps as she leaves the court after Las Vegas won Game 3 of three of the WNBA semifinals against the Storm in Seattle. Wilson finished with a playoff career-high 34 points and 11 rebounds.
(Lindsey Wasson / Associated Press)

Jackie Young sent the game in overtime with a buzzer-beating basket and then Chelsea Gray and Kelsey Plum hit big shots in the extra session to help the Las Vegas Aces beat the Storm 110-98 on Sunday in Seattle to move within a victory of advancing to the WNBA Finals.

Las Vegas took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five WNBA playoff semifinal series after some wild final moments of regulation and a dominant performance in overtime.

Gray had been quiet in the fourth quarter but scored eight of her 29 points in overtime including a pair of three-pointers that silenced Storm fans who had been roaring only a few minutes earlier when it appeared Seattle was on the cusp of winning the pivotal game.


Seattle led 92-90 with 0.8 second left in regulation after Sue Bird made a corner three. It was a storybook moment to be another highlight in Bird’s final season before retiring.

But on the ensuing inbound play, Young got free on a switch and scored in the lane ahead of the buzzer to send the game to overtime.

Las Vegas outscored Seattle 18-6 in overtime.

A’ja Wilson finished with a playoff career-high 34 points and 11 rebounds. Gray added 12 assists and Riquna Williams added a key 14 points off the bench. Plum had 16 points, including a key three-point play to start overtime for the Aces.

Breanna Stewart led Seattle with 20 points, while Bird and Jewell Loyd both had 17. Tina Charles added 16 points but missed a pair of free throws with 7.2 seconds left in regulation that could have given Seattle a three-point lead.

Seattle trailed by as many as 15 in the first half, and now has to find a way to rebound from an emotionally draining loss. The Aces victory also moved Bird one step closer to retirement. Bird announced this will be her final season, and Las Vegas can send her into retirement as one of the greatest players in league history with a victory in Game 4 on Tuesday.


The second half was filled with wild emotional swings and a conclusion to regulation that featured big plays one after another.

Stewart had been held in check but scored on three straight possessions as the teams traded baskets for most of the final three minutes. Stewart’s driving finger roll with 55 seconds left gave Seattle an 87-85 lead.

Plum missed a three-pointer on the net Las Vegas possession. Stewart missed a contested shot, but the rebound went to Seattle. Loyd was fouled and hit both free throws with 11 seconds left.

Williams made a three-pointer with 8.9 seconds left for Las Vegas before Charles missed her foul shots. Wilson put Las Vegas ahead 90-89 with a spinning drive in the lane with 2.2 seconds left. Then it was Seattle’s turn to have an apparent on Bird’s three-pointer. But that was muted moments later when Young scored.


Sky 76, Sun 72

Sky forward Candace Parker drives between Sun guard Natisha Hiedeman and forward Jonquel Jones.
Sky forward Candace Parker drives between Sun guard Natisha Hiedeman, left, and forward Jonquel Jones during Game 3 on Sunday.
(Jessica Hill / Associated Press)


With the game in the balance, Candace Parker and the Chicago Sky turned up their defense and came away with a gritty win to move within one victory of returning to the WNBA Finals for a second straight year.

Parker had 16 points and 11 rebounds, Kahleah Copper added 15 points and the Sky beat the Connecticut Sun 76-72 in Game 3 of the WNBA playoff semifinals in Uncasville, Conn. The Sky lead the best-of-five series 2-1. Game 4 is Tuesday.

“Down the stretch we were able to play [to our strengths],” said Parker, who tied Tamika Catchings for most double-doubles in the playoffs with 27. “I think the biggest thing is sometimes in years past, we would play great defense and give up the offensive board. Tonight we were able to finish the play.”

Copper’s three-pointer with 6:14 left gave Chicago a 66-64 lead. Then offense was hard to come by: Neither team scored for nearly 4 minutes until Emma Meesseman made a jumper in the corner to extend the lead to four with 2:26 left.

Connecticut missed eight shots in a row over that scoreless span until Courtney Williams made a jumper 40 seconds later.


Chicago scored the next four points with two free throws by Copper and a layup by Meesseman that made it 72-66 with less than a minute left. Connecticut got back to within two with 22 seconds left on two free throws by Bonner, but Parker made two free throws seven seconds later.

Bonner then missed a three and Connecticut was done. She finished with 18 points to lead the Sun, who had 17 turnovers.