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WNBA playoff race 2022 tracker: Wings clinch playoff spot with fifth straight win

WNBA playoff race 2022 tracker: Wings clinch playoff spot with fifth straight win
There is only one week left in the WNBA regular season and not one team is locked into a postseason seed yet. Even the four games on Sunday didn’t set anything into place solidly into place.

Yahoo Sports tracked the games and their impact on the playoff picture. The season ends on Sunday, Aug 14 and the playoffs tip off on Aug. 17.

WNBA TV schedule
Sky 94, Sun 91

Aces 89, Storm 81

Sparks 79, Mystics 76

Lynx 81, Dream 71

Monday game

Wings 86, Liberty 77

WNBA standings
As of Monday at 10 p.m. ET. Team (record), games back, x – clinched berth; o – eliminated

1. Chicago Sky (25-8) – x

2. Las Vegas Aces (23-10), 2 GB – x

3. Connecticut Sun (22-11), 3 GB – x

4. Seattle Storm (20-13), 5 GB – x

5. Washington Mystics (20-14), 5.5 GB – x

6. Dallas Wings (17-16), 8 GB – x

7. Atlanta Dream (14-19), 11 GB

8. Phoenix Mercury (14-19), 11 GB

9. New York Liberty (13-20), 12 GB (1 GB of playoff spot)

10. Minnesota Lynx (13-20), 12 GB (1 GB of playoff spot)

11. Los Angeles Sparks (13-20), 12 GB (1 GB of playoff spot)

12. Indiana Fever (5-29), 20.5 GB – o

Wings surge past Liberty to clinch playoff spot
Sabrina Ionescu came close, but it wasn’t quite enough on Monday night in Dallas.

The Wings, despite trailing at the end of the third quarter, mounted a big 14-0 run that spanned nearly four minutes late in the quarter to take their nine-point win — which marked their fifth straight and officially clinches a playoff spot.

Ionescu dropped a game-high 32 points and seven rebounds for the Liberty, but she was the only starter to score more than five points. Only Marine Johannes joined her in double figures after she put up 19 points off the bench.

Marina Mabrey led Dallas with 31 points and four rebounds while shooting 11-of-18 from the field, and Allisha Gray added 18 points. The Wings held New York to just 13 points in the first and fourth quarters.

The two teams will run it back on Wednesday. The Liberty are just a single game back from a playoff spot, too, making that contest even more critical.

Las Vegas Aces guard Kelsey Plum hit a wide-open corner 3 with under 30 seconds left to all but officially seal the 89-81 win against the Seattle Storm at Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle on Sunday. The Aces are 2-1 in the season series. These two will meet a final time in Las Vegas a week from Sunday on the final day of the regular season.

The win is huge for the Aces since the Sky won earlier in the day. They’ll stay two games back of Chicago and more importantly gain ground on the Sun and Storm for the No. 2 seed.

The game was Sue Bird’s final regular-season contest in Seattle and potentially her final one in Seattle of her career, depending on how the playoff picture paints out. She finished with nine points, six assists, four rebounds and a steal.

It was also a highly anticipated third matchup between leading MVP candidates Breanna Stewart of the Storm and A’ja Wilson of the Aces.

Stewart scored at least 30 points for a second consecutive game, the second time in her career she’s strung along such games. The 2018 MVP had 35 points, 10 rebounds and two assists. She hit 4-of-5 3-point attempts and made 11-of-15 free throws. Tina Charles, the 2012 MVP, scored 19 points with nine rebounds.

Wilson was consistent from start to finish for the Aces. The 2020 MVP paced the Aces with 29 points on 13-of-24 shooting with six rebounds. Plum scored 16. Chelsea Gray and Jackie Young scored 15 each.

It was another contest between top-four teams in the ABC doubleheader. The Aces held the advantage most of the contest and kept the Storm at bay every time they came within a possession. The Storm were without head coach Noelle Quinn, who entered health and safety protocols on Saturday. Assistant Pokey Chatman, a former WNBA head coach, served in the interim.

Sparks upset Mystics to keep playoff hopes alive
The Los Angeles Sparks upset the Washington Mystics, 79-76, to keep their playoff hopes alive and at least temporarily jump the Minnesota Lynx in playoff positioning. The loss means a missed opportunity for the Mystics to move up into the No. 4 seed with the Storm’s loss across the country.

Brittney Sykes led Los Angeles with 21 points, six rebounds and three assists. Katie Lou Samuelson and Nneka Ogwumike scored 15 each. The team was without Chiney Ogwumike, who was listed on the injury report for a face injury.

The Mystics won on the boards, 40-29, but were 3 of 16 from 3-point range. Natasha Cloud attempted a last-second 3-point toss and wanted a foul, but it was called off.

Cloud called it out on Twitter immediately after the game. The Sparks were 5 of 13 and snapped a six-game losing skid.

Ariel Atkins and Myisha Hines-Allen each put up 20 points and six assists in the losing effort. Rookie center Shakira Austin had 16 points and was 6 of 9 from the floor. Former MVP Elena Delle Donne was back in the lineup after missing the last game for rest. She had eight points, eight rebounds, three blocks and two assists. Though she struggled at 2 of 12 from the floor.

The Sparks are one game back of the final playoff spot and only one game separates them from No. 7 seed Atlanta. They still have to play two against the Sun starting on Tuesday. The Mystics have the good fortune of ending the season with two games against the Indiana Fever.

Sky keep pace at the top
Give us a best-of-five series of Sky-Sun, stat.

The Sky hit a barrage of 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to complete the four-game season sweep of the Connecticut Sun, 94-91, at Wintrust Arena on Sunday afternoon. Emma Meesseman hit the game-winning 3 on an assist by Candace Parker with 28 seconds left that preserved the Sky’s two-game cushion at the top of the postseason standings no matter what happened with the Aces.