Aces, Mercury to finish schedule with eye toward playoffs

National Sports

The Las Vegas Aces and the host Phoenix Mercury will get in a final regular-season tune-up Sunday in advance of the upcoming WNBA playoffs.

The Aces (23-8) have wrapped up the No. 2 seed and have a bye into the semifinals. The Mercury (19-12) have locked up the fifth seed and will host the yet-to-be-determined eighth seed in a one-game playoff Thursday night.

Las Vegas secured its double bye with an emphatic 103-70 road victory against the Chicago Sky on Friday night.

“I told the players … we haven’t done anything yet,” Aces coach Bill Laimbeer said. “All we did is what we were expected to do at the start of the year. We were expected to get a double bye, and we did. Give them credit for that.”

Laimbeer said he hopes that All-Star center Liz Cambage, who has missed the last five games because of COVID-19 protocol, can play Sunday. The semifinals begin Sept. 28.

“That’s the biggest key is to get her back on the court,” Laimbeer said. “Getting game-conditioned is not going to happen for a long time. But you’ve got to start someplace.”

The Mercury have dropped two consecutive games following a 10-game winning streak. Diana Taurasi has missed the last three games because of an ankle injury, with Phoenix confident it will have her back for the playoffs.

The Mercury lost an opportunity to move into fourth place and possibly grab a first-round bye when they lost at Seattle 94-85 on Friday night.

“We have to regroup and learn and get ready,” Phoenix coach Sandy Brondello said. “We’ve been there before. It’s definitely not easy. We’ve just got to take a one-game-at-a-time approach and get after it because otherwise you lose and go home anyway. We’ve got to make sure we bring our best game.”

Washington (12-19), Los Angeles (12-19) and New York (12-20) are competing for the No. 8 seed as the regular season concludes Sunday.

–Field Level Media

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