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WNBA: Kelsey Plum rallies Aces past Mercury

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Kelsey Plum scored 23 points and Jackie Young made a tip-in with 4.3 seconds left to lift the visiting Las Vegas Aces to an 84-83 victory over the Phoenix Mercury in the regular-season finale for both teams Sunday afternoon.

Plum scored 13 straight points to rally the Aces before Young broke the streak with her tip. Ji-Su Park blocked Brianna Turner’s shot to preserve the victory for the Aces (24-8).

Riquna Williams scored 13 points and Chelsea Gray and Dearica Hamby had 12 each for the second-seeded Aces, who have a double-bye into the semifinals of the playoffs. All-Star center Liz Cambage returned from a five-game absence due to COVID-19 protocols and had four points and four rebounds in 9 1/2 minutes.

Skylar Diggins-Smith scored 17 points, Kia Nurse had 14, Sophie Cunningham added 12 and Kia Vaughn, Shey Peddy and Bria Hartley had 10 each for the Mercury (19-13), who made just one field goal in the final 4:05 and watched Las Vegas score the final nine points.

Fifth-seeded Phoenix, which has lost three straight after a 10-game winning streak, will host the eighth seeded New York Liberty in a one-game playoff Thursday night.

Diana Taurasi missed her fourth consecutive game due to an ankle injury, but the Mercury hope to have her back for the playoffs.

Cambage’s basket nudged Las Vegas in front 61-60 midway through the third quarter before the Aces scored eight straight points.

Plum made a free throw to stop the run and added a jumper that trimmed Phoenix’s lead to 68-64 at the end of the period.

Hartley’s jumper started the fourth-quarter scoring and gave Phoenix a six-point lead before Hamby answered with five consecutive points.

Cunningham made a 3-pointer and assisted on Turner’s basket for a 75-69 lead before Plum took over.

Earlier, Diggins-Smith’s 3-pointer broke a 17-17 tie and Phoenix went on to take a 27-23 lead at the end of the quarter.

Peddy made a 3-pointer as the Mercury opened a 38-28 lead before the Aces closed the margin to 47-43 at halftime.

–Field Level Media

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