Basketball·WNBA ROUNDUP

Aces top Storm to spoil Sue Bird's final regular season game

Candace Parker scored 18 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and tipped a pass to Emma Meesseman for a 3-pointer in the closing seconds to help the Chicago Sky beat the visiting Connecticut Sun 94-91 Sunday to set the franchise record for wins in a season.

Sky beat Sun to set franchise record for most wins in a season

Four-time WNBA champion Sue Bird made an emotional farewell on Sunday, playing her final regular-season home game after a blockbuster two decades with the Seattle Storm. (@seattlestorm/Twitter)

A'ja Wilson scored 29 points, Kelsey Plum added 16 including a key 3-pointer in the final minute, and the Las Vegas Aces spoiled the final regular season home game for Sue Bird beating the Seattle Storm 89-81 on Sunday.

The largest crowd in Storm history packed Climate Pledge Arena to thank Bird for her two decades as the face of the franchise and one of the best women's basketball players ever.

But the Aces weren't willing to play their part in ensuring Bird's finale was a win. Wilson dominated the first three quarters, Chelsea Gray and Jackie Young both scored 15 and the Aces never trailed the final 28 minutes.

Breanna Stewart finished with a season-high 35 points and Tina Charles added 19. Bird finished with nine points, six assists and four rebounds, but the result was much like the first game she played in Seattle 20 years ago — a defeat.

The four-time WNBA champion Bird made an emotional farewell to a chorus of cheers after a blockbuster two decades with the Storm.

A record crowd of 18,100 turned up to Climate Pledge Arena, chanting "Thank you, Sue," as the former first overall draft pick took a curtain call on her way to the playoffs.

"I didn't really prepare anything for this moment right here. I don't know that there is [any] preparing for it," the five-times Olympic gold medallist told fans.

"Right now, I just want to say from the bottom of my heart how thankful I am."

It was not quite the goodbye Bird hoped for as a relentless A'ja Wilson led the Las Vegas Aces to an 89-81 win over the Storm, gunning to be the number one seeds in the playoffs.

Bird produced a solid defensive effort, putting up nine points, six assists and four rebounds.

"All the nights you were telling me to shoot more - I'm sorry for that. I'm sure tonight was one of those nights," Bird joked to the fans.

She has a chance of playing again in Seattle, with the Storm having already clinched a playoff spot, but fans treated the game as a farewell for Bird, whose name is synonymous with the franchise after amassing a record 13 WNBA All-Star selections.

Parker helps Sky edge Sun

Candace Parker scored 18 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and tipped a pass to Emma Meesseman for a 3-pointer in the closing seconds to help the Chicago Sky beat the visiting Connecticut Sun 94-91 Sunday to set the franchise record for wins in a season.

Courtney Vandersloot had 20 points, five assists and four steals for Chicago (25-8). Meesseman and Allie Quigley added 15 points apiece and Kahleah Copper scored 11.

Jonquel Jones had 17 points and 10 rebounds for Connecticut (22-11), which was missing head coach Curt Miller who was spending time with his family after his mom Bev died earlier this week.

Connecticut was missing head coach Curt Miller who was spending time with his family after his mom Bev died earlier this week.

Sparks keep playoff hopes alive

Brittney Sykes scored 21 points, including a driving layup in the closing seconds, and the Los Angeles Sparks kept their slim playoff hopes alive with a 79-76 win over host Washignton Mystics.

Los Angeles (13-20), which snapped a six-game losing streak, are one of five teams within two games of each other vying for the final two postseason berths. The Sparks are 1 1/2 games back of seventh-place Atlanta (14-18) and a game behind Phoenix (14-19) for the final playoff spot with a week left in the regular season.

Washington is in a battle with Seattle for the fourth spot. The Mystics trail by a half-game with two games left.

Nneka Ogwumike and Katie Lou Samuelson scored 15 points apiece for the Sparks. Jordin Canada added 11 points and a career-high tying 12 assists and Lexie Brown scored 10 points.

Lynx stay in playoff hunt with win over Dream

Napheesa Collier made her season debut for Minnesota, Kayla McBride scored 20 points and the Lynx used a fourth-quarter run to beat the the visiting Atlanta Dream 81-71 on Sunday night to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Collier, Minnesota's leading scorer (16.2 per game) last season, played for the first time since she gave birth to her daughter, Mila, in late May. The 2019 WNBA Rookie of the Year finished with six points in 21 minutes.

Atlanta (14-19) fell into a tie with the Phoenix Mercury for the eighth, and final, playoff spot with a week remaining in the regular season — a half-game ahead of the New York Liberty (13-19) and a game in front of Minnesota (13-20) and the Los Angeles Sparks (13-20).

The Dream missed six consecutive field-goal attempts during a 10-0 run that gave Minnesota a 70-59 lead with 7 minutes to play after Collier converted a three-point play and, 32 seconds later, McBride hit a 3-pointer. Maya Caldwell made a 3-pointer to snap Atlanta's scoring drought of 3-plus minutes.

Natalie Achonwa answered with a three-point play before Rachel Banham made a pull-up jumper to give the Lynx a 75-62 lead with 5:28 remaining.

Moriah Jefferson hit 4 of 5 from 3-point range and finished with 18 points, Banham scored 12 and Sylvia Fowles added eight points, eight rebounds and three blocks. Fowles moved past Brittney Griner into third in WNBA history with 718 career blocks.

Aari McDonald and Rhyne Howard scored 16 points apiece for Atlanta and Cheyenne Parker added 12 points — all in the first half. Caldwell and Naz Hillmon each scored 10 points.

Minnesota had 26 assists on 31 field goals and made 12 3-pointers.

With files from Reuters

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