Mystics keep playoff hopes alive with win over Kia Nurse’s Liberty

Myisha Hines-Allen had 25 points and 11 rebounds to help Washington beat the New York Liberty 75-58 on Saturday, keeping the Mystics’ playoff hopes alive.

Washington’s victory eliminates Atlanta and leaves just the Mystics and the Dallas Wings in the running for the eighth and final playoff spot. The Mystics (8-13) would clinch a berth with a victory over Atlanta in a regular-season finale on Sunday. A loss would open the door for Dallas (7-14), which would then advance with a victory over the last-place Liberty (2-19) Sunday as the Wings own the tiebreaker over the Mystics.

Hines-Allen was 8-of-16 shooting, making all three of her 3-point attempts and all six free throws. Ariel Atkins added 18 points and five steals with Leilani Mitchell scoring 12 points.

The Mystics scored the first nine points, led 36-29 at halftime and were up by as many 20 in the third quarter.

WATCH | Nurse’s 15 points not enough in Liberty loss:

Hamilton’s Kia Nurse scored 15 points but her New York Liberty dropped a 75-58 loss to Washington Mystics. 2:03

Kia Nurse and Kiah Stokes, the latter with five 3-pointers, scored 15 points each for the Liberty.

Aces beat Sparks, clinch double-bye into playoff semis

A’ja Wilson scored 19 points with eight rebounds and the Las Vegas Aces beat the Los Angeles Sparks 84-70 on Saturday to clinch a top-two finish and a double-bye into the playoff semifinals that comes with it.

The Aces (17-4) take on first-place Seattle (18-3) in a regular-season finale on Sunday to try and secure the No. 1 seed. The Sparks (15-7) finish third.

Angel McCoughtry added 18 points and six rebounds and Kayla McBride 17 points and six assists for the Aces, who won their fifth straight game. The Aces shot 52.2% from the floor.

Nneka Ogwumike scored 24 points with seven rebounds for the Sparks. Candace Parker added 19 points and 10 rebounds for her 10th double-double of the season. Riquna Williams scored 10 points.

A 12-2 run to end the third quarter got the Sparks within four but they didn’t get any closer. A McBride 3-pointer made it a 10-point game with 1:25 to go and the lead remained in double figures.

Wilson’s jumper gave the Sparks the lead for good about six minutes into the first quarter. It was 43-35 at the half behind 12 points from Wilson and 10 by McBride.

Lynx beat Fever to finish as No. 4 seed

Rachel Banham made seven 3-pointers and scored 29 points, both career highs, and the Minnesota Lynx completed their regular season with a 98-86 victory over the Indiana Fever on Saturday.

Banham, averaging 5.7 points, made her first start of the season and finished 10-of-14 shooting — missing just once from behind the arc — and added a career-high 10 assists. She scored nine points in the third quarter when the Lynx extended a one-point lead to nine heading into the fourth quarter.

The Lynx (14-8), who snapped a three-game losing streak, will be the fourth seed for the playoffs. The Fever (6-16) finish their season in 11th place.

Napheesa Collier added 23 points on 10-of-14 shooting with eight rebounds for Minnesota, which shot 55% overall and 59% from the arc (13 of 22). Damiris Dantas added 15 points and eight assists,

Kelsey Mitchell scored 20 points to lead the Fever. Tiffany Mitchell added 14 points and Candice Dupree had 12 points. Dupree grabbed six rebounds for 3,071 in her career, passing Tina Thompson for sixth place in the WNBA all-time.

Lynx guard Bridget Carleton scored seven points in the win, while teammate Kayla Alexander of Milton, Ont., chipped in two points. Fever forward Natalie Achonwa of Toronto scored six points in a losing effort.

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