WNBA: Chelsea Gray helps Aces beat Storm, clinch top playoff seed
Chelsea Gray scored a career-high 33 points and dished out nine assists Sunday as the host Las Vegas Aces outscored the Seattle Storm 109-100 to clinch the No. 1 seed for the upcoming WNBA playoffs.
A’ja Wilson added 25 points and 10 rebounds for the Aces (26-10), while Kelsey Plum chipped in 23 points and Riquna Williams came off the bench to net 11. Las Vegas connected on 55.7 percent of its field goal attempts, including 11 of 27 3-pointers, and drew 26 assists off 39 buckets.
Jewell Loyd paced Seattle (22-14) with eight 3-pointers and a career-high 38 points. Breanna Stewart stuffed the stat sheet with 21 points, 15 rebounds and four assists, while Gabby Williams chipped in 11 points.
The Storm, who will host Washington in their first round best-of-3 series, lost despite going 18 of 40 from the 3-point line and earning a 40-33 advantage in rebounding. But they also committed 18 turnovers and were outscored 20-6 at the foul line. Seattle shot 46.3 percent from the field.
Plum hit a 3-pointer with 58.8 seconds left for a 101-95 lead and the Aces closed it out from there. They will host either Phoenix or New York in the first round next week.
Las Vegas controlled most of the first quarter, establishing a 29-19 lead at the 1:06 mark. But Seattle answered back with seven straight points, chopping the lead to three going to the second after a Williams layup with 1.8 seconds left.
It became a 15-0 run for the Storm when Epiphanny Prince drained a 3-pointer two minutes into the second quarter for a 34-29 advantage. The margin reached 12 before the Aces lashed together a 14-3 run to end the half, Williams drilling a 3-pointer to make it 51-50 Seattle at halftime.
Briann January’s 3-pointer with 1:58 left in the third quarter gave the Storm a 76-66 cushion. But Las Vegas exploded for 12 straight points to end the period. Gray stole the ball and nailed a 3-pointer as time expired for a 78-76 edge.
Seattle’s retiring Sue Bird had six points and seven assists in 27 minutes in her final regular-season game.
–Field Level Media