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Alysha Clark’s putback at buzzer lifts Storm past Lynx 88-86

UPDATED: Tue., Sept. 22, 2020

Seattle Storm's Alysha Clark (32) backs into the defense of Phoenix Mercury's Sophie Cunningham during the first half of a WNBA basketball game Saturday, Aug. 8, 2020, in Bradenton, Fla.  (Associated Press)
Seattle Storm's Alysha Clark (32) backs into the defense of Phoenix Mercury's Sophie Cunningham during the first half of a WNBA basketball game Saturday, Aug. 8, 2020, in Bradenton, Fla. (Associated Press)
Associated Press

BRADENTON, Fla. — Alysha Clark’s putback at the buzzer lifted the Seattle Storm past the Minnesota Lynx 88-86 on Tuesday night in the first game of the semifinal series.

Seattle inbounded it with 14.8 seconds left after Napheesa Collier tied it on an up-and-under move. Sami Whitcomb got it in the corner and drove the baseline for a layup that missed but it fell to Clark, who corralled it and released it just before the final buzzer.

Seattle, which has won seven straight games against Minnesota, hadn’t played since Sept. 13 after earning a double-bye to the semifinals. The game was originally scheduled for Sunday, but it was postponed because of inconclusive COVID-19 tests with three players on the Storm. Seattle stars Breanna Stewart and Sue Bird had been off since Sept. 9 due to injuries.

Jewell Loyd scored 18 of her 25 points in the first half, and Stewart had 21 points and 10 rebounds for Seattle. Bird had 11 points, including two fourth-quarter 3-pointers, and eight assists.

Collier had 25 points, nine rebounds and six blocks for Minnesota. Odyssey Sims added 19 points and rookie of the year Crystal Dangerfield was held to four points.

Loyd blocked Sims’ layup attempt and Clark made a layup at the other end to give Seattle an 84-81 lead. After Damiris Dantas tied it with a corner 3-pointer, Loyd put Seattle back in front with a driving layup.

Game 2 is Thursday night.

•Wilson powers Aces over Sun: A’ja Wilson had 29 points, seven rebounds and a career-high seven blocks to lead the top-seeded Las Vegas Aces past the Connecticut Sun 83-75 on Tuesday night to even the best-of-five playoff series at 1-1.

Wilson converted a three-point play with 1:03 remaining to break a tie at 75. After Connecticut’s 17th turnover of the game, Wilson drove to the basket again, bobbled it and made the layup while being fouled. She missed the free throw, but Angel McCoughtry grabbed the rebound and Dearica Hamby made 1 of 2 free throws for an eight-point lead.

DeWanna Bonner led Connecticut with 23 points and seven rebounds, and Briann January added 20 points. Alyssa Thomas, averaging 15.5 points and nine rebounds, left the game in the first quarter after injuring her right shoulder and did not return.

Connecticut coach Curt Miller said he didn’t know what Thomas’ status was for the rest of the series.

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