Chelsea Gray scored 22 points and the visiting Las Vegas Aces used a 24-0 third-quarter run to rout the Phoenix Mercury 93-76 on Wednesday night and force a decisive final game in a best-of-five WNBA semifinal playoff series.
Kelsey Plum added 20 points, Riquna Williams scored 17 and A’ja Wilson had 15 points and 12 rebounds as the second-seeded Aces bounced back from consecutive lopsided losses. They will host Game 5 on Friday night with the winner advancing to the WNBA Finals to face the Chicago Sky beginning Sunday.
Diana Taurasi and Skylar Diggins-Smith scored 14 each and Shey Peddy added 13 points to lead the fifth-seeded Mercury, but Brittney Griner scored just 13, making 6 of 19 field-goal attempts while adding eight rebounds.
Phoenix scored 29 points in the first quarter but had just 47 in the final three quarters.
The Mercury, already playing without key reserve Sophie Cunningham because of a calf injury, lost starting guard Kia Nurse to a knee injury less than a minute into the game.
The decisive run toward the start of the third quarter gave Las Vegas a 75-48 lead.
Kia Vaughn’s basket ended a seven-minute scoring drought for Phoenix, but Las Vegas held a commanding 78-57 lead at the end of the third quarter.
The Mercury got off to a fast start for the fourth consecutive game, scoring the first eight points and taking an 11-2 lead.
But the Aces bounced right back, pulling even at 11 on Plum’s 3-pointer.
Peddy scored five points as Phoenix took a 23-16 lead, but Griner committed her second foul.
Plum had two assists and made a 3-pointer as Las Vegas climbed within 29-24 by the end of the period.
Gray scored 10 second-quarter points and added an assist as the Aces took a 44-39 advantage.
Taurasi’s 3-pointer pulled the Mercury even before Wilson’s basket and Dearica Hamby’s free throw gave Las Vegas a 49-46 halftime lead.
–Field Level Media