The Minnesota Lynx and Las Vegas Aces have significant playoff positioning at stake as they meet Wednesday in Las Vegas.
The Lynx (18-9) have won five games in a row and 13 of their last 15 to pull within 1 1/2 games of the second-place Aces (20-8).
The top two seeds receive a double-bye into to the semifinals, and the third and fourth seeds only receive a bye into the second round.
The Lynx’s winning streak coincides with the return of guard Aerial Powers, who missed nine weeks because of thumb surgery. She scored 20 points off the bench in Minnesota’s last game, a 93-75 home victory Saturday against Washington, Powers’ former team.
“We need that personality,” Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. “That edge. And she’s going to give that to you every single time. It never wanes.”
Minnesota shot 52.9 percent from the floor and tied a season high by making 11 3-pointers.
“The last couple games, we turned down a lot of open shots. Our emphasis in this game was to let it fly,” Reeve said.
That victory completed a 4-0 homestand in which the Lynx held each opponent to less than 40 percent shooting.
“Overall, I love where our team defense is,” Reeve said.
Las Vegas, meanwhile, is coming off a 92-84 loss at Chicago on Sunday.
“We just put ourselves in a position with no margin for error,” Aces coach Bill Laimbeer said, adding that the game against the Lynx is “the game of the year.”
Vegas trailed Chicago by 12 points in the first half, but tied the score twice in the second half before faltering down the stretch.
“Being sharp in late moments — that’s the difference in this game between a win and a loss,” guard Kelsey Plum said.
The Lynx have clinched the season series, having won the first two meetings heading into the regular-season finale.
Aces All-Stars Dearica Hamby (ankle) and Liz Cambage (COVID-19) are questionable after missing the last two games.
–Field Level Media