Fever, Lynx advance to WNBA conference finals
WASHINGTON (AP) — Tamika Catchings had 26 points and 11 rebounds as the Indiana Fever beat the Washington Mystics 81-76 to sweep the best-of-three series and advance to the Eastern Conference finals.
In the West, Lindsay Whalen had a career playoff-high 31 points as the Minnesota Lynx rallied for a 94-89 victory over the San Antonio Stars, advancing to the conference finals and ending Becky Hammon’s playing career.
Catchings’ 3-pointer with 1:34 remaining in overtime put the Fever ahead for good, 75-74. With that basket, she surpassed Lisa Leslie as the WNBA’s career leading scorer in the postseason.
In the 78-73 Game 1 win, Catchings had 22 points, 10 rebounds and seven steals. She also moved past Leslie to become the top career rebounder in the playoffs.
Kara Lawson scored a season-best 20 points for the Mystics, who led 62-57 with 3:57 remaining in regulation. Including the regular season, Washington lost five of its final six games.
The Fever will face top-seeded Atlanta or No. 4 Chicago in the conference finals.
At San Antonio, Seimone Augustus scored 21 points, Maya Moore had 16 and Janel McCarville 10 for Minnesota, which will face the winner between Phoenix and Los Angeles after sweeping the first-round series.
The Stars had no answer for the defending WNBA champions’ offensive depth. After attempting to stall Whalen’s drives, Minnesota allowed Augustus and Moore to close out the game.
Hammon, who is retiring after 16 seasons in the WNBA, had 12 points and four assists in her final game. She received a standing ovation and received warm wishes from Minnesota’s players, especially Augustus.