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Storm advance to finals; Aces force Game 5 against Sun

BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) — Breanna Stewart scored a career playoff-high 31 points — tying Seattle’s franchise playoff record — and Sue Bird had 16 points and nine assists, and the Storm beat Minnesota 92-71 on Sunday to sweep the Lynx and advance to the WNBA Finals.

Stewart added six rebounds, seven assists, three steals and two blocks. Mercedes Russell tied her season high with 10 points for the No. 2 seed Storm.

Bird and Stewart combined to score or assists on 13 points during a 17-0 run that gave Seattle a 24-8 lead when Sami Whitcomb made a layup with 54.2 seconds left in the first quarter. Stewart made a short jumper to push the Storm’s lead to 18 points with 1:05 left in the first half but Minnesota scored 16 of the next 21 points, inclduing six by Crystal Dangerfield and two 3-pointers by Odyssey Sims, to make it 48-41 about three minutes into the third quarter.

Stewart answered with back-to-back layups and, after Jewell Loyd made another layup, Stewart converted a three-point play and then hit a 3 in a 12-0 run that made it 60-41 with about four minutes later and Minnesota trailed by double figures the rest of the way.

Napheesa Collier led Minnesota with 22 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks. Damiris Dantas and Dangerfield — the 2020 WNBA rookie of the year — scored 16 points apiece.

ACES 84, SUN 75

Angel McCoughtry scored 16 of her 29 points in the third quarter as Las Vegas took control and the Aces beat the Sun in Game 4 of the best-of-five WNBA semifinals.

McCoughtry finished with six assists, five rebounds and three steals. A’ja Wilson, the 2020 league MVP, had 18 points, 13 rebounds and four assists for top-seeded Las Vegas and Danielle Robinson also scored 18 points.

Game 5 is Tuesday.

McCoughtry scored 14 of the first 18 second-half points for Las Vegas and assisted on the remaining four as the Aces turned a one-point halftime deficit into a 55-46 lead midway through the third quarter and Connecticut trailed by at least nine points the rest of the way.

Las Vegas was without reigning two-time WNBA sixth woman of the year, Dearica Hamby, who will likely miss the remainder of the playoffs with a knee injury.

Jasmine Thomas made a career-high six 3-pointers on 11 attempts and finished with 25 points for the Sun. Alyssa Thomas added 15 points and DeWanna Bonner had 10 points and a season-high 15 rebounds.

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