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🏀Philadelphia: Sixers close regular season with a win

May 17, 2021
Source: Sixers/Twitter.com
Source: Sixers/Twitter.com

Going out on top: The Sixers closed out their regular season with a 128–117 win over the Orlando Magic last night. Since their No. 1 seed was secure, they rested starters like Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, allowing younger players to shine.

  • And the rookies showed up: Tyrese Maxey led the team with 30 points, and Paul Reed and Isaiah Joe both added 17. The future’s lookin’ bright. 

Ready to ring chase: It’s now a waiting game: the Sixers’ first-round opponent will be determined by the aforementioned play-in tournament, which starts tomorrow. The only sure thing? Philly’s earned home-court advantage throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs. 

  • One thing to know: After receiving his 16th technical foul of the season in Thursday’s loss to the Miami Heat, Dwight Howard received a one-game suspension and had to sit out on Friday. 
  • Howard is a key part of the Sixers’ lineup, and in a tight playoff situation, he can’t risk another ejection or suspension. Clean it up, Superman
🥎🏈

NCAA Women's College Cup Final tonight at 5:30pmEST

May 17, 2021
Source: Andy Mead/Santa Clara Athletics
Source: Andy Mead/Santa Clara Athletics

 ⚽️Soccer: Two undefeated clubs will square off for the NCAA title tonight at 5:30 p.m. ET: No. 1 Florida State and No. 11 Santa Clara. Santa Clara already pulled off one upset, beating No. 2 North Carolina 3–1 in the semifinals. Meanwhile, top-seeded Florida State squeaked by, advancing on penalty kicks in the quarterfinals and semis. It’s anyone’s game.

🏈Football: Mother Nature tried to put a damper on their plans, but No. 2 Sam Houston won their first FCS football title with a 23–21 win over No. 1 South Dakota State yesterday. It came down to the wire, with Sam Houston quarterback Eric Schmid finding wide receiver Ife Adeyi for the game-winning touchdown with 16 seconds remaining. Couldn’t have written it better.

🥎Softball: After a thrilling weekend of conference tournament action, the 64-team NCAA tourney bracket was released last night. Highlights include No. 21 Duke — who’s only had a softball program for four years — winning their first ACC title while advancing to their first NCAA tourney. Don’t call it beginner’s luck.

Check out the full bracket before regional action opens up on Friday. Let the road to Oklahoma City begin. 

🏀NBA Play-In contenders set

May 17, 2021
Source: NBA/Twitter
Source: NBA/Twitter

 The play-in contenders: After finishing seventh and eighth respectively in the Eastern Conference, the Washington Wizards and Boston Celtics will now play for the No. 7 spot in the playoffs. The No. 9 Indiana Pacers and No. 10 Charlotte Hornets will face off tomorrow, too, and the winner will play the loser of the earlier game for the playoff’s No. 8 seed.

  • In the West, it’ll be a Battle of California on Wednesday for the No. 7 seed, between the Golden State Warriors and the reigning NBA champs, the LA Lakers, while the Memphis Grizzlies and San Antonio Spurs will play for their lives.

The best of the rest: The Philadelphia 76ers locked up the top spot in the East, and the Utah Jazz are the best in the West. They’ll each play the winner of their conference’s No. 8 seed game. The East’s Brooklyn Nets and West’s Phoenix Suns both finished second, so they’ll square off against the earlier winners (aka No. 7 seeds).

  • Meanwhile, the third through sixth seeds already know who they’ll be facing in the first round of the postseason. Check out all of Round One’s match-ups here.

The GOATs: The end of the regular season wasn’t the only excitement this weekend — the Basketball Hall of Fame (HOF) inducted its 2020 class on Saturday. The honorees included the late Kobe Bryant (his widow Vanessa accepted the award), former Indiana Fever star Tamika Catchings, former San Antonio Spur star and former coach Tim Duncan, and 15-time NBA All-Star Kevin Garnett.

  • The 2021 HOF class was also announced yesterday, and amongst the 16 inductees are the WNBA’s Yolanda Griffith and Lauren Jackson, and the NBA’s Chris Bosh, Paul Pierce and Chris Webber.
🏀

Weekend Recap: NWSL, WNBA, and UWCL Final

May 17, 2021
Source: UEFA Women’s Champions League/Twitter
Source: UEFA Women’s Champions League/Twitter

⚽️NWSL: The Portland Thorns are in a league of their own. Fresh off of their Challenge Cup win, the Thorns won their season opener over the Chicago Red Stars 5–0 yesterday, including two Morgan Weaver-to-Sophia Smith goals.

🏀WNBA: In just her fourth professional game, New York Liberty’s Sabrina Ionescu (pronounced yo-NESC-ooo) hit a game-winning three-pointer with about two seconds remaining to win the W’s season opener. The Liberty went on to beat the Indiana Fever again yesterday, already tying their total games won from last season. Do a 180.

⚽️UWCL: Barcelona put on a show in a dominating 4–0 victory over Chelsea to win their first-ever title. They could’ve stopped after the first three goals — which included a penalty kick — but the fourth from Caroline Graham Hansen was just too good. 

🏀🥎

Seattle: Storm start 2021 WNBA season off strong

May 17, 2021
Source: Elaine Thompson/Associated Press
Source: Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

 🏀Storm: It may be with some fresh faces, but the Storm are so back. Our gals dominated in their season opener, a rematch of the 2020 WNBA Finals, routing the Las Vegas Aces 97–83 on Saturday. Only five players from last year’s title team were present to accept their Championship rings, but dominance hasn’t gone anywhere. 

⚽️OL Reign: Despite some tantalizingly close calls on both ends of the pitch, OL Reign finished their first regular-season match against the North Carolina Courage in a scoreless draw on Saturday. 

  • The rock-solid defense was steadied by defender Lauren (aka Lu) Barnes, who tied the NWSL record for most regular-season matches played (and most with a single team) with her 150th on Saturday. Cheers to those years, right, Sue

⚽️⚾️🥎Highlights: 

  • The 5-0-1 Sounders maintained their undefeated status when they shut out LAFC 2–0 last night. One more win and they’ll seal their best-ever start in franchise history. Whatever they’re doing, it’s working. 

The UW softball team secured a No. 16 seed in the NCAA Tournament. On deck: unseeded Portland State on Friday at 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT. Play ball!