Sky handed top playoff seed to Aces with 89-78 loss

LAS VEGAS – It was a different game but the same old story Thursday night between Sky and Aces. Like in their last three matchups this season, Sky found themselves on their heels.

1 playoff seed on the line, Sky faltered, falling to the Aces 89–78 and falling to second place in the WNBA standings.

Sky general manager/coach James Wade later had little to say: “It wasn’t enough to win.”

The Sky (25-10) insisted on playing an aggressive defense in the first five minutes of the game, but they could not stay within five points of the aces early on. They were trailing 11 after the first quarter and 14 at halftime. Sky shot 35.3% from the field and 16.7% from deep in the first half.

“We talked a lot about defense because we know they are very aggressive in the beginning [of games],” said Emma Meesemann. “I felt like we lost our aggression on offense.”

In the third quarter, he cut the Aces’ lead to six by setting up his inside game. Kahlih Copper led all scorers, tying her season high with 28 points. He scored 16 runs in the third quarter alone. The Sky outscored Aces 42-32 in the Paint.

Candace Parker had 15 points and 12 rebounds and Meisman had 14 points and seven rebounds. Ultimately, Sky needed more production than the rest of the team.

He finished the game shooting 46.2% off the ground, but went 3-for-21 from deep. The Aces bench outscored Sky’s 15-11. Courtney Vandersloot and Allie Quigley were held for a combined 10 points.

“We can’t just say no,” Messemann said. “Everyone has to step up a little more. He can’t have that much scoring weight on him.”

While Copper was leading his team’s comeback, Aces guard Jackie Young was helping his team maintain its lead, matching Copper’s 16 third-quarter points. Young finished with 22 points, five rebounds and two assists. Kelsey Plum led the Aces with 25 points, 18 of which came in the first half.

The Aces were without Dierika Hamby, who suffered a right knee injury on Tuesday against the Atlanta Dream and will miss for four weeks.

The face-to-face tiebreaker gives the Aces (25–10) the No. 1 playoff seed to enter each team’s final game of the regular season. Sky could regain it on Sunday with a win against the Phoenix Mercury and a loss for the Aces to the Seattle Storm.

“It’s not rock bottom,” said Copper. “We’re No. 2 right now. We still have a chance to finish first. It’s on to next.”

Li Yueru did not travel with Sky, so she could complete work for her visa in preparation for the FIBA ​​World Cup.

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