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WNBA Playoff Roundup | Sparks, Aces Advance to Semis as Four Teams Remain

(image credit: screenshot from WNBA on YouTube)

The 2019 WNBA Playoffs continued on Sunday afternoon around the league, with a pair of second-round playoff games taking place.

In the postseason doubleheader aired on ESPN2, the third-seeded Los Angeles Sparks looked impressive en route to a sizable win over the sixth-seeded Seattle Storm at Staples Center in Los Angeles, while the fourth-seeded Las Vegas Aces beat the fifth-seeded Chicago Sky in dramatic fashion in Las Vegas in the two single-elimination second-round contests.

With the Sparks and Aces moving on in the playoffs, the two teams will advance to face off against the top two seeds in the postseason — the Washington Mystics and Connecticut Sun — during a best-of-five semifinal round kicking off on Tuesday night on ESPN2.

With the second round behind us and the semifinals here, the WNBA Playoffs are down to the final four teams as we progress towards the WNBA Finals later on this month.

Let’s take a look back at the two second round games in this edition of the WNBA Playoff Roundup:

NO. 3 LOS ANGELES SPARKS 92, NO. 6 SEATTLE STORM 69
(Box score)

(image credit: screenshot from WNBA on YouTube)

Making their debut in the playoffs on Sunday after receiving a first-round bye, the third-seeded Los Angeles Sparks looked impressive at home, taking down the sixth-seeded Seattle Storm 92-69 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

With the victory, the Sparks secured their 15th straight win at home and move on to play No. 2 Connecticut Sun in a best-of-five semifinals series beginning at 5:30 p.m. CT on Tuesday in Connecticut.

Los Angeles welcomed Seattle — who defeated the Minnesota Lynx in the opening round of the playoffs last week — into Staples Center on Sunday by trailing the defending champion Storm 23-22 after one quarter in the single-elimination contest. The Sparks were able to recover quick and bounce back in the second quarter to take a lead 43-36 lead into halftime. From that point on, they didn’t look back.

Los Angeles went on to outscore Seattle 24-22 in the third quarter and held a 25-11 advantage in the final 10 minutes of the game to cruise to a 23-point victory to keep its championship hopes alive.

Chelsea Gray continued to show up for her team in big moments to lead the Sparks with 21 points, eight assists and three rebounds. Nneka Ogwumike pitched in with 17 points and six rebounds and both Candace Parker and Riquana Williams added 11 points a piece for Los Angeles, which show 48.7 percent from the field with 11 threes.

The WNBA’s 2019 Defensive Player of the Year in Natasha Howard did all she could for Seattle to help it steal a win on the road, finishing with a team-best 20 points, 11 rebounds and four steals. Behind Howard, Jewell Loyd had 11 points and four assists, while both Mercedes Russell and Jordin Canada tallied 10 points each for the Storm in the season-ending defeat.

Los Angeles looks like a scary team right now, clicking on all cylinders at just the right time. It will be entertaining to see the Sparks square off against the Sun — a team they held a 2-1 series advantage over in the regular season — in a best-of-five series starting on Tuesday night in Connecticut.

NO. 4 LAS VEGAS ACES 93, NO. 5 CHICAGO SKY 92
(Box score)

(image credit: screenshot from WNBA on YouTube)

One the same day where she was awarded with the WNBA’s Sixth Women of the Year award, Las Vegas Aces forward Dearica Hamby saved the day for the fourth-seeded Aces in a dramatic 93-92 victory over the fifth-seeded Chicago Sky on Sunday.

With Las Vegas down two with under 10 seconds remaining, Hamby stole the ball and appeared to think there was less time on the clock than actually remained, throwing up a near-half court heave as the clock continued to tick down.

With five seconds remaining, Hamby saw her desperation shot sink and helped lead the Aces to the semifinal round of the WNBA Playoffs in dramatic fashion.

With the win in the entertaining, back-and-fourth second-round single-elimination game against the Sky, the Aces will advance to the best-of-five semifinal round and will face the top-seeded Washington Mystics at 7:30 p.m. CT on Tuesday night on ESPN2 in the nation’s capital.

In the game on Sunday afternoon in Las Vegas, Hamby tallied 17 points, five assists and four rebounds off the bench for the Aces. Along with Hamby, Liz Cambage finished with 23 points, 17 rebounds and six blocks, Kayla McBride added 16 points and three rebounds and Kelsey Plum pitched in with 15 points and six assists for Las Vegas, which shot 45.1 percent as a team.

For Chicago, which shot 43.9 percent in the game, Diamond DeShields grabbed a team-high 23 points and six rebounds and Astou Ndour added 17 points and eight rebounds to lead the way. Kahleah Copper had 16 points off the bench, while Stefanie Dolson finished with 13 points, seven rebounds and two blocks for the Sky in their final game of the season.

UPDATED PLAYOFF PICTURE

With four teams remaining and the semifinal round set to kick off on Tuesday, here’s a look at the updated playoff bracket heading into the best-of-five series:

(image credit: screenshot from WNBA.com)

Below is the full breakdown of the two semifinal round matchups, with the first game of the series’ being played in Connecticut and Washington D.C. on Tuesday night.

 

SEMIFINAL ROUND (best-of-five series):

Game 1 — Tuesday: No. 3 Los Angeles at No. 2 Connecticut, 5:30 CT, ESPN2
Game 1— Tuesday: No. 4 Las Vegas at No. 1 Washington, 7:30 CT, ESPN2

Game 2 — Thursday: No. 3 Los Angeles at No. 2 Connecticut, 5:30 CT, ESPN2
Game 2 — Thursday: No. 4 Las Vegas at No. 1 Washington, 7:30 CT, ESPN2

Game 3 — Sept. 22: No. 2 Connecticut at No. 3 Los Angeles, Time TBD, ESPN2
Game 3 — Sept. 22: No. 1 Washington at No. 4 Las Vegas, Time TBD, ESPN2

Game 4 (if necessary) — Sept. 24: No. 2 Connecticut at No. 3 Los Angeles, Time TBD, ESPN2
Game 4 (if necessary)— Sept. 24: No. 1 Washington at No. 4 Las Vegas, Time TBD, ESPN2

Game 5 (if necessary)— Sept. 26: No. 3 Los Angeles at No. 2 Connecticut, Time TBD, ESPN2
Game 5 (if necessary) — Sept. 26: No. 4 Las Vegas at No. 1 Washington, Time TBD, ESPN2

 

To view the updated playoff bracket and matchups, click here.

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(image credit: screenshot from WNBA on YouTube)

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