Chelsea Gray, Las Vegas Ice finish off Seattle Storm to advance to WNBA Finals

Seattle – Advance in the same round where they failed a year ago, Las Vegas Aces He returned to the WNBA Finals for the second time in the past three years with a 97-92 victory on Tuesday in Game 4 of the Semifinal Series against Seattle Storm3-1 win.

The Aces owners, who lost to Seattle in the 2020 WNBA Finals, were on the cusp of a comeback last year before losing their fifth game of their series in the semi-finals against Phoenix Mercury With a stadium advantage at home under former Las Vegas coach Bill Laimbere.

“We did not leave last year, it hurts,” aces guard Chelsea Gray He said. “I got stung. That was the hardest match.”

In the wake of that loss, Gray and his teammate Aja Wilson About how to get over the hump. Gray’s shot turned out to be the better solution, as he made the difference on Tuesday in a fourth quarter that saw three draws and three changes to the lead.

Gray scored three consecutive high-difficulty jumpers in the 2:03 final, the first two goals giving Las Vegas the lead after Seattle tied the game and the last one extending the advantage to five with 30.7 seconds remaining. The storm never approached three points again.

On the flip side, Seattle coach Noel Quinn had no answers for Gray.

“I don’t think anyone on the planet can guard it,” Quinn said. “She was unconscious. We did a lot of things in this series to try to slow her down. You limit her scoring, she has the ability to pass and make play. She’s a great player.”

“I think our team did a very good job of trying to limit her, but I think she was alert; and when a player is on a lap like that, it’s very difficult to stop them.”

With 31 points and 10 assists, Gray became the first player in WNBA supplement history to top 30 points and 10 assists, according to ESPN Statistics and Information Research. For the post-season, Gray averages 24.0 points per game on 63% shots, including 59.5% outside the arc.

“I don’t really know how,” Gray said of her hot shoot. “I’m going for my shots like I do. Nothing different.”

Storm stars Joel Lloyd (29 points, high level playoff) and Brianna Stewart (42, a career high in any game and Angel McGoughtree tied the most in the WNBA after the season) broke his own record for scoring in the playoffs, 71 points above the 65 he scored against the Aces in 2020.

“Joel and I texted before the game that we wanted to make sure we left everything on the field,” Stewart said. “We did everything we could.”

Las Vegas managed to beat those performances with a more balanced score. In addition to Gray, Wilson (23 points, 13 rebounds) had her second double of the series, Jacky Young scored 18 points and Kelsey Bloom Get 15 points. These four players either scored or assisted in all 97 ace points, according to ESPN stats and information.

By contrast, Loyd and Stewart were the only two players to score in Seattle with double figures.

Loss ended WNBA jobs for storm guards So Bird And the Brian JanuaryBoth announced that they would retire at the end of the season. This moment was especially poignant for Bird, who has played all 19 of her seasons in Seattle.

As when Las Vegas spoiled Bird’s last game of the regular season in Seattle with a win last month at Climate Pledge Arena, the ace expressed some mixed feelings about the outcome.

“You kind of feel like the girl who beat Serena [Williams]Las Vegas coach Becky Hammon said, “Referring to Ajla Tomljanovicwho defeated Williams at the US Open last week in the last game of Williams’ legendary career.

“It’s bittersweet. I know myself, all of our staff, our team, and our organization have a lot of respect for Sue. She has a fictional career. A career that kids dream about. She has to live it. She’s lived it out loud. Her thumbprint is in the game forever.”

Although the series didn’t go the distance, it will likely be seen as a classic in WNBA history. Only one of the four matches was decided by more than five points, and that one (Sunday Match 3) went into overtime after a tie basket by Young at the bell. The Aces gave credit to Storm for giving them everything they had.

“Obviously we’re happy to be back in the Finals and pumping it up for our girls,” Hammon said, but it just feels weird just because we have so much respect for the other team as a whole, really. They gave us a hell of a shot.

“It’s only been a couple of Giants that have been in it. She was the one who would be the last woman standing. We feel so blessed. We feel we worked for her and are definitely happy to move in and out of this arena, for sure.”

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