Saturday, December 16th, 2017

Minnesota Lynx and Los Angeles Sparks return to the WNBA Finals after semifinals sweeps

Published on September 18, 2017

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Minnesota 81, Washington 70

The Minnesota Lynx advanced to the WNBA Finals for the sixth time in seven seasons after sweeping the Washington Mystics in the semifinals after a 81-70 victory on Sunday at Capital One Arena in D.C.

Washington led Minnesota, 39-38, after the first half behind a balanced scoring effort from the starting five. Minnesota used a 17-0 from the last minute of the second quarter to Maya Moore’s technical free throw at the 6:41 of the third quarter to retake the lead after trailing 39-38 at half. Lynx forward Maya Moore led the Lynx with 21 points plus five assists. Guard Seimone Augustus was in double figures with 18 points plus five rebounds and four assists. This season’s league MVP Sylvia Fowles had a double-double with 17 points and 14 rebounds.

Mystics forward Elena Delle Donne led the way for Washington, tallying 15 points and eight rebounds, each team highs. Two other Mystics finished in double figures: guard Tierra Ruffin-Pratt (14) and guard Kristi Toliver (13).

The Lynx will host the Sparks Friday in Minneapolis for the first game in the best-of-five finals series.

Los Angeles 89, Phoenix 87

Los Angeles won a nail-biting game three semifinals contest 89-87 against the Phoenix Mercury to advance to the WNBA Finals for the second straight season and fifth time overall. This is the first postseason series the Sparks have won since 2000 against the Mercury.

Phoenix started the game with a 15-5 run. Los Angeles chipped away at the largest Phoenix lead of the series (11 points) to trail by only four points to close out the first quarter, 25-21.

Los Angeles led for the first time at 4:49 in the second quarter with Nneka Ogwumike making two free throws, 32-30. The Sparks erased a four-point deficit in the second quarter and finished the first half with a 24-8 run. Los Angeles took a seven-point lead, 45-38, into the locker room at half.

The Sparks were outscored in the third quarter 24-18 and finished the period leading by 1-point, (63-62). Los Angeles began the fourth quarter with an 11-5 run before Phoenix would call a timeout at 5:51 in the fourth quarter. Phoenix went on a 13-4 run in the last two minutes of the game to tie the score 87-87. Candace Parker’s driving layup with 2.9 seconds left put the Sparks up by 2 points, 89-87.

Sparks guard Odyssey Sims led her team in scoring with 22 points. Parker had an impressive outing with 21 points, seven rebounds, 11 assists and three blocks. Chelsea Gray was also in double figures with 14 points plus five rebounds and eight assists. Jantel Lavender added 11 points.

Diana Taurais led Phoenix with 22 points. Camille Little and Brittney Griner finished with 18 points and eight rebounds each. Point guard Leilani Mitchell scored 12 points and dished out five assists.

With the win, Los Angeles continued their winning streak of ten straight games since Aug. 16 at Washington.

This post is part of the thread: 2017 WNBA Season – an ongoing story on this site. View the thread timeline for more context on this post.


 

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