A'ja Wilson poured in 29 points Tuesday to carry the top-seeded Las Vegas Aces to an 83-75 victory over the Connecticut Sun in the WNBA playoff semifinals in Bradenton, Fla.
Wilson, the league's most valuable player in the regular season, added seven rebounds, seven blocks and three assists as the Aces knotted the best-of-five series at 1-1. Angel McCoughtry had 11 points, three rebounds and three assists; Dearica Hamby contributed 11 points and four assists; and Kayla McBride also scored 11 points for Las Vegas.
DeWanna Bonner had 23 points, seven rebounds and three assists to lead seventh-seeded Connecticut. Briann January scored 20 points, while Brionna Jones and Jasmine Thomas chipped in 10 apiece for the Sun. Thomas had a career-best 31 points in Connecticut's 87-62 Game 1 victory.
Sun starting forward Alyssa Thomas injured her right shoulder during the first quarter and did not return.
In the first half, January made all five of her shots to score 13 points and lift the Sun to a 39-38 lead.
The Aces gained a 46-44 edge early in the third quarter, but Connecticut went on a long-range barrage: Bonner drilled her second 3-pointer of the half, January sank a 26-footer after a Las Vegas turnover, and Bonner knocked down another for a 53-46 Sun advantage.
Las Vegas responded with eight unanswered points and appeared ready to take control, but went cold as Connecticut regained the lead with another surge.
Connecticut led by six with less than eight minutes to play, but 67-61 lead evaporated quickly. Wilson sparked the Las Vegas rally, sinking an 11-footer, and soon after a putback that tied it at 67.
The heavily favored Aces trailed as late as four minutes remaining, but after the teams scrambled through some up-and-back, there was Wilson with 1:03 remaining, driving to the basket and converting a three-point play to give Las Vegas the lead for good at 78-75. Follo
Alysha Clark scored off an offensive rebound at the buzzer as the Seattle Storm defeated the Minnesota Lynx 88-86 in the first game of a WNBA semifinal series Tuesday night at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
Seattle's Jewell Loyd converted a driving layup to put the Storm up 86-84 with 30.6 seconds left. Minnesota's Napheesa Collier scored off a move in the lane to knot the score 86-86 at the 14.8-second mark. Clark then won it when she grabbed the ball after Sami Whitcomb's attempt off a drive to the basket bounced off the rim.
A replay review confirmed that Clark's putback was launched in time.
Loyd posted 25 points and teammate Breanna Stewart scored 21 points for the Storm. Clark finished with 12 points, Sue Bird had 11 points and Natasha Howard added 10 points. Loyd had four 3-pointers as Seattle went 13-for-26 from deep.
Collier's 25 points, nine rebounds and six blocked shots led the Lynx. Odyssey Sims poured in 19 points, Bridget Carleton had 14 points and Damiris Dantas provided 11 points.
Game 2 of the best-of-five series is set for Thursday night.
The Lynx wiped out a 10-point hole to go up 78-77 with less than five minutes to play on Collier's 3-point basket. Minnesota led 81-80 with 2:37 to play.
The teams were supposed to play Game 1 on Sunday afternoon, but inconclusive COVID-19 testing involving Storm players caused the WNBA to postpone the game. The league announced earlier Tuesday that the players in question underwent extensive additional testing and were cleared to rejoin the team, other than one undisclosed player (who was cleared a couple of hours prior to the game) awaiting a second test after an initial negative test.
The Storm ended up playing in its first game since Sept. 13.
Minnesota opened an early eight-point lead, in part because of three 3-pointers from Carleton, before the Storm led 22-21 at the end of the first quarter
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Austin Slater had two hits, including a home run, Alex Dickerson also went deep, and the host San Francisco Giants beat the Colorado Rockies 5-2 on Tuesday night.
Corey Seager had a home run among his three hits as the Los Angeles Dodgers clinched their eighth consecutive National League West title with a 7-2 victory over the visiting Oakland Athletics on Tuesday.
Max Stassi drove in the Angels' first three runs with a pair of homers as part of a four-hit game and right-hander Griffin Channing held the Padres to one run on two hits over six innings Tuesday night as visiting Los Angeles scored a 4-2 victory at Petco Park in San Diego.
Carson Kelly slugged a three-run homer to cap a four-run sixth inning and help the Arizona Diamondbacks roll to a 7-0 victory over the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night at Phoenix.
Martin Maldonado and Michael Brantley hit home runs and Framber Valdez pitched seven strong innings as the Houston Astros beat the host Seattle Mariners 6-1 Tuesday to inch closer to a playoff berth.
The Denver Nuggets played their way back into the Western Conference finals on Tuesday night, riding 28 points from Jamal Murray, a postseason career-high 26 from Jerami Grant and a key late defensive stand to a 114-106 victory over the top-seeded Los Angeles Lakers in Game 3 near Orlando.
Dylan Carlson had three hits, three runs and two RBIs to help the St. Louis Cardinals defeat the host Kansas City Royals 5-0 Tuesday.
Max Kepler had three hits including a game-tying homer in the eighth inning and a walk-off single in the 10th to give the Minnesota Twins a 5-4 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday night in Minneapolis.
Nick Pivetta struck out eight over five innings in his Red Sox debut, Christian Vazquez hit a three-run home run and Boston beat the visiting Baltimore Orioles 8-3 in the opener of a three-game series Tuesday night.
Marcell Ozuna hit two home runs and drove in five as the Atlanta Braves won the National League East for the third straight season with an 11-1 win over the visiting Miami Marlins.
A slumping Pete Alonso homered and finished with three RBIs and Seth Lugo bounced back from the worst start of his career by tossing 6 1/3 solid innings Tuesday night for the host New York Mets, who kept alive their playoff hopes and delayed the Tampa Bay Rays a chance to clinch a division title with a 5-2 win.
Jacob Stallings' home run in the ninth inning Tuesday gave Pittsburgh a 3-2 win over the visiting Chicago Cubs, ending the Pirates' five-game losing streak.
Eric Sogard delivered a tiebreaking RBI double during a two-run seventh inning and Brett Anderson threw six strong innings for the visiting Milwaukee Brewers, who evened their three-game set against the Cincinnati Reds with a 3-2 comeback win on Tuesday night.
Aaron Hicks had three RBIs with a triple and a single, right-hander Gerrit Cole struck out seven in seven innings, and the visiting New York Yankees defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 12-1 on Tuesday night in Buffalo, N.Y.
Jose Ramirez belted a three-run homer in the 10th inning as the host Cleveland Indians clinched a postseason berth in dramatic fashion with a 5-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday.
Yadiel Hernandez's first career homer was a two-run walk-off shot in the bottom of the eighth inning Tuesday, lifting the host Washington Nationals past the Philadelphia Phillies 8-7 in the second game of a doubleheader.
Austin Voth tossed a complete game three-hitter to lift the host Washington Nationals past the Philadelphia Phillies 5-1 in the first game of a doubleheader on Tuesday.
German Marquez pitched six one-run innings for his first win since Aug. 4, and the visiting Colorado Rockies scored early and often against San Francisco Giants ace Johnny Cueto en route to a critical 7-2 victory in the opener of a four-game series Monday night