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Roundup: Successful challenge aids Fever in avoiding history

The Indiana Fever are in the win column for the 2023 WNBA season thanks to NaLyssa Smith. Plus, a close win for the Chicago Sky and a dominant win for the Las Vegas Aces.

WNBA: MAY 28 Commissioner’s Cup - Indiana Fever at Atlanta Dream
NaLyssa Smith
Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

A foul called on Kelsey Mitchell was rescinded with 16.7 seconds remaining Sunday at Gateway Center Arena in Atlanta, preventing Allisha Gray from going to the free throw line for two free throws that could have given the Atlanta Dream the lead over the Indiana Fever. The Fever held on to win 90-87, snapping a 20-game losing streak that dated back to last season. A 21st consecutive loss would have put them alone with the distinction of longest losing streak in WNBA history.

2022 No. 2 pick NaLyssa Smith, and not star Kelsey Mitchell or hyped-up 2023 No. 1 pick Aliyah Boston, was the hero in this important win. Smith finished with 23 points, 12 rebounds and three assists. She was 10-of-16 from the field and 3-of-5 from deep. Boston added 13 points and seven boards while Mitchell had 15 points and three helpers. Queen Egbo (10 points, nine rebounds), Erica Wheeler (11 points, four assists) and Kristy Wallace (10 points, three assists) were also key.

Posts Boston and Egbo were efficient from the field (5-of-7 and 4-of-6, respectively) and guards Wheeler and Wallace were efficient from beyond the arc (3-of-4 and 2-of-3, respectively).

Indiana trailed by five after one and by six at the break before winning the third by four and the fourth by five.

Cheyenne Parker tried to lead the Dream to victory with 21 points, six boards and two blocks. Rhyne Howard added 23 points and Gray had 19 with four helpers in defeat. Parker was 9-of-10 at the stripe and Gray was 3-of-6 from distance.

The Fever won despite making 20 fewer free throws.

Other action

Chicago Sky over Dallas Wings, 94-88

The Sky went on a 6-0 run from 41 seconds remaining to 15 seconds remaining to take an eight-point lead. Alanna Smith scored four of the points on the run with a jumper and two free throws; Courtney Williams added two free throws of her own.

Chicago got contributions from all over. Marina Mabrey (3-of-6 from deep) paced the team with 23 points, adding five rebounds and eight assists. Williams continued to rack up the rebounds, hauling in a season-high 11; she’s had at least six in all four of her appearances this year, which is great for a guard. She added 12 points and five helpers; she’s had at least four assists in each game. Smith went for a 14-point, 12-rebound double-double, managing six assists and two blocks as well. Kahleah Copper was not to be forgotten, as she notched 16 points and seven boards. Sika Koné chipped in with 10 points and six rebounds while Dana Evans (6-of-9 from the field) was good for 14 points.

Arike Ogunbowale and Satou Sabally led the charge for Dallas with 27 and 24 points, respectively. Sabally added eight boards.

Chicago committed six more turnovers but won rebounds 44-32.

Mabrey spent the last three seasons with the Wings and is Ogunbowale’s best friend.

Las Vegas Aces over Minnesota Lynx, 94-73

The Aces are going to be amazingly good if their fifth-best player, Jackie Young, keeps playing like their first- or second-best player. She had 23 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals in this triumph over the Lynx.

After shooting a season-low 37.5 percent from the field in her previous outing, Chelsea Gray was 7-of-10, including 3-of-4 from downtown. She finished with 19 points, five boards, 10 helpers and two swipes. A’ja Wilson made her usual impact as well with 21 points, five rebounds and two blocks.

The Aces won the first by seven, the second by five and the third by eight before a nearly even fourth quarter.

Napheesa Collier posted 21 points, 10 boards and two steals in defeat. Tiffany Mitchell (16 points, five rebounds, four assists) and Jessica Shepard (four points, 15 boards, seven helpers) back her up. 2023 No. 2 pick Diamond Miller continued her great free throw shooting, attempting a team-high seven shots at the stripe and making six. She is 20-of-22 now for her young career (90.9 percent). She has yet to make a three though (0-of-9 overall, 0-of-1 on Sunday) and is shooting just 31.6 percent from the field (4-of-10 on Sunday).

The Aces won despite losing the rebounding battle 40-36. They made seven more threes and were 16-of-17 at the stripe as a team. Wilson was 9-of-10 and Young was 5-of-5.

Mitchell was 2-of-3 from long range; teammate Rachel Banham was 4-of-7. Young was 4-of-8.