WNBA

Sky upend No. 1 Sun in 2OT, Aces edge Mercury in WNBA semis

Reuters
Sky upend No. 1 Sun in 2OT, Aces edge Mercury in WNBA semis

HEART-STOPPER. Courtney Vandersloot helps carry the Chicago Sky to a thrilling double-overtime win over the Connecticut Sun.

WNBA

Chicago Sky point guard Courtney Vandersloot dishes out a record 18 assists and tallies just the second triple-double in WNBA playoff history

Candace Parker scored 22 points, Courtney Vandersloot dished out a WNBA playoff-record 18 assists and the sixth-seeded Chicago Sky shocked the top-seeded Connecticut Sun, 101-95, in double overtime to open their semifinal series in Uncasville, Connecticut Tuesday night, September 28 (Wednesday, September 29, Manila time).

Parker’s cutting layup with 2:16 left in the second overtime put the Sky up 95-93 before Stefanie Dolson’s layup with 1:29 to play made it a four-point game. 

Connecticut’s Brionna Jones missed a pull-up jumper at the free throw line with 31.1 seconds to go, and the Sky sealed the win at the line.

Vandersloot added 12 points and 10 rebounds to record the second-ever triple-double in WNBA playoff history – the first since Sheryl Swoopes’ triple-double on September 3, 2005.

“This is playoff time. This is what we want,” Vandersloot told the ESPN2 broadcast. “I had no idea I had a triple-double. I have so many threats around me. I was just trying to be aggressive.”

Allie Quigley scored 19 points and Kahleah Copper added 13 for Chicago (16-16). The Sky have won three straight playoff games after earning single-elimination victories over Dallas and Minnesota to reach the semifinals.

Jonquel Jones led all scorers with 26 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for Connecticut (26-6). Brionna Jones totaled 22 points and 10 boards while DeWanna Bonner scored 13 for the Sun, who had won 14 straight to close the regular season.

Before the game, Sun forward Jonquel Jones was named the WNBA MVP while teammate and center Brionna Jones took home Most Improved Player honors. Connecticut coach Curt Miller was also named the league’s Coach of the Year.

Game 2 is Thursday night in Connecticut.

Brionna Jones put back her own miss to put the Sun up 84-82 with 24.7 seconds left in regulation. Copper made two of three free throws to tie it again after being fouled shooting a three-pointer with 19.3 seconds on the clock. 

Bonner missed a turnaround fadeaway at the buzzer to send the game to overtime.

Brionna Jones’ reverse layup put the Sun up 90-89 with 1:50 remaining in the first overtime. Copper’s cutting finger roll with 46.4 seconds to play restored the Sky lead at 91-89. 

Briann January made one of two free throws with 25.1 ticks left to tie it at 91 and force double overtime.

The Sky led 47-46 at halftime.

Aces top Mercury in Game 1

Riquna Williams scored 26 points and Kelsey Plum added 25 off the bench as the host Las Vegas Aces defeated the Phoenix Mercury 96-90 in the first game of their semifinal series Tuesday night.

Chelsea Gray recorded 17 points and 12 assists and A’ja Wilson scored 15 points with nine rebounds for the second-seeded Aces, who shook off the early effects of an eight-day layoff.

All five starters hit double-digit points for the fifth-seeded Mercury. Brittney Griner scored 24, Diana Taurasi 20, Kia Nurse 13, Brianna Turner 12 and Skylar Diggins-Smith 10.

Game 2 of the best-of-five series is Thursday night in Las Vegas.

The Mercury trailed by 10 after three quarters but opened the fourth with a 9-2 run that pulled them within three points.

Gray then assisted on Plum’s three-pointer and added a basket to give Las Vegas an 83-75 lead.

Phoenix got within four points twice before Wilson scored six straight to give the Aces a 91-81 lead with three minutes left.

Taurasi and Nurse each made a three-pointer as the Mercury scored the first eight points of the game.

Vegas got within one point twice before Taurasi’s triple gave Phoenix an 18-12 lead.

Diggins-Smith converted a three-point play and Taurasi hit a trey to give the Mercury their biggest lead at 30-21 at the end of the period.

The Aces used a 10-0 run to take a 37-36 lead midway through the second quarter.

Turner’s layup ended the Mercury drought before Plum’s three-pointer started a run that gave Vegas a 46-41 edge.

Phoenix pulled within one point before Gray’s jumper gave the Aces a 52-49 halftime lead.

The Mercury scored the first five points of the third quarter to take a two-point lead.

Liz Cambage and Plum each made a three-pointer to give the Aces a 64-58 lead midway through the period.

Plum scored 12 points in the final five minutes as Vegas took a 76-66 lead at the end of the period. – Rappler.com