BRADENTON, Fla. — A’ja Wilson and Dearica Hamby each scored 23 points and the Las Vegas Aces secured the top seed in the playoffs with an 86-84 win over the Seattle Storm on Sunday.
Each team finished at 18-4 heading into the playoffs, but the Aces hold the tie-breaker after winning both regular-season contests against the Storm. Las Vegas ended the regular season on a six-game win streak.
Both squads entered Sunday’s season finale having secured double-byes into the semifinals. Seattle played without forward Breanna Stewart and point guard Sue Bird, who were held out due to injury.
Jewell Loyd’s jump shot with 5:11 left put the Storm up 79-74. Kayla McBride followed with a three-pointer 17 seconds later, Hamby added a three-point play and Las Vegas led the rest of the way.
Ahead by two with 0.3 seconds left, Las Vegas’ Danielle Robinson missed a pair of free throws—the second intentionally—with the hope of forcing the Storm into a desperation heave. But Robinson left the free throw line early and was called for a lane violation. It allowed the Storm to set a play on a side out, but the ball was deflected on the entry pass and time expired.
MYSTICS 85, DREAM 78
Ariel Atkins scored 26 points and the Mystics clinched the eighth and final seed to the playoffs with a win over the Dream.
The Mystics (9-13) will take on No. 5-seed Phoenix (13-9) on Tuesday in a single-elimination game. Washington’s win eliminated Dallas (8-14) from playoff contention after the Wings beat the New York Liberty 82-79 earlier Sunday.
Washington secured a spot in the postseason having won five of its last six games following a stretch where it had lost 11 of 12.
Betnijah Laney scored 27 points on 11-of-16 shooting for the Dream (7-15).
WINGS 82, LIBERTY 79
Arike Ogunbowale scored 26 points, and her three-point play with 12.4 seconds left helped carry Dallas past the New York Liberty.
The Wings (8-14) needed help to earn the No. 8 spot, but Washington beat Atlanta later in the day to secure the final playoff position.
Ogunbowale gave Dallas the lead for good when she banked in a 12-foot runner going to her left after getting hit by Amanda Zahui B. on the drive.
Jazmine Jones gave the Liberty (2-20) its last lead with a layup with 59.8 seconds to go for a 79-78 lead. Following an exchange of possessions, the Liberty failed to use the clock when Kiah Stokes put up a shot with 15.8 seconds remaining and missed. The Wings called timeout to set up Ogunbowale’s game-winner.
Jones led New York with 21 points and Leaonna Odom scored 20.