Elena Delle Donne scored 24 points and hit a crucial late turnaround jumper as the Washington Mystics edged the Las Vegas Aces in Game 1 of their WNBA semi-final series.
Tuesday night’s WNBA playoff scores
- Las Vegas Aces 95-97 Washington Mystics – Mystics lead 1-0
- Los Angeles Sparks 75-84 Connecticut Sun – Sun lead 1-0
Las Vegas Aces 95-97 Washington Mystics
Elena Delle Donne scored 24 points and hit a crucial turnaround jumper late on while Emma Meesseman added a career postseason high 27 points as the Washington Mystics held on for a 97-95 victory over the Las Vegas Aces in Game 1 of their WNBA semi-final series on Tuesday night.
Meesseman also bested her regular-season high of 25 for the top-seeded Mystics, who were playing their first postseason game since being swept by the Seattle Storm in last year’s WNBA Finals.
In her first game in more than a month, Kristi Toliver added eight points, including a fall-away contested three-pointer that stretched Washington’s lead to 13 in the fourth quarter, an advantage that they ultimately narrowly held.
A’ja Wilson scored 23 points for Las Vegas, who twice got the deficit as close as two points in the final moments of the game.
Liz Cambage had 19 points and 12 rebounds, while Kayla McBride added 19 points. Kelsey Plum had 16 points and nine assists and missed a runner at the buzzer that would have forced overtime, two days after Dearica Hamby’s 35-foot runner decided the Aces’ 93-92 second-round win over the Chicago Sky.
After Toliver’s three-pointer stretched Washington’s lead to 92-79, the Aces scored nine straight points to close the deficit to four, while twice forcing the Mystics into a shot-clock violation with the ball in Delle Donne’s hands. Wilson’s drive and lay-up closed it to 95-93 with 1:33 left, convincing Mystics coach Mike Thibault to call timeout.
After a missed shot on each end, Delle Donne hit a turnaround from near the right elbow to put the Mystics up by four. Plum answered with a lay-up on the other end to close it to two again. Delle Donne missed a jumper with under five seconds remaining, but while Plum was able to get an outlet pass and race inside the three-point line, her runner under duress would not fall at the buzzer.
Los Angeles Sparks 75-84 Connecticut Sun
Alyssa Thomas had 22 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead a balanced Connecticut offense as the Sun opened the WNBA semi-finals with an 84-75 win over the Los Angeles Sparks. Jasmine Thomas scored 19 points, Jonquel Jones had 16 and Courtney Williams had 15 for the Sun, who won their first playoff game since 2012.
Candace Parker had 24 points and 10 rebounds, and Nneka Ogwumike added 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Sparks, who knocked off defending champions Seattle in the second round.
Connecticut trailed by three points at half-time, but scored the first nine points of the third quarter. A lay-up by Courtney Williams just before that quarter’s buzzer sent the Sun into the final 10 minutes up 59-58.
Connecticut never trailed in the fourth, outscoring the Sparks 25-17 over the final 10 minutes. The Sun, who lost their final two regular-season games, had not played since September 8 and started slowly, missing their first four shots.
But Alyssa Thomas quickly found her form, scoring the Sun’s first nine points and had 13 as Connecticut took a 21-14 lead after a quarter. Connecticut led by as many as 11 points in the second, before Nneka Ogwumike led the Sparks back. She had 13 points in the half, hitting six of her seven shots as the Sparks took a 40-37 lead into intermission.