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Aces advance to WNBA Finals, end Sue Bird’s career

Oct 2, 2020; Bradenton, Florida, USA; A game ball waits on a sanitation cart during game 1 of the WNBA finals between the Las Vegas Aces and the Seattle Storm at IMG Academy. Mandatory Credit: Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports

Chelsea Gray scored 31 points and dished out 10 assists, A’ja Wilson also had a double-double and the Las Vegas Aces advanced to the WNBA Finals by defeating the host Seattle Storm 97-92 on Tuesday night.

The top-seeded Aces won three straight games after losing Game 1 in the best-of-five semifinal series. The Finals will open in Las Vegas on Sunday, with the Aces opposing the winner of the Connecticut Sun-Chicago Sky series, which concludes with Game 5 on Thursday.

Wilson had 23 points and 13 rebounds, Jackie Young scored 18 and Kelsey Plum had 15 for the Aces.

Breanna Stewart scored a career-high 42 points and Jewell Loyd added 29 for the fourth-seeded Storm. Sue Bird, playing the final game of her 19-year WNBA career, had eight points and eight assists.

The Aces led by seven after three quarters before Bird, 41, made a 3-pointer to start the fourth-quarter scoring. Seattle pulled even at 67-67 on a Loyd three-point play with 7:30 to go before Gray made a 3-pointer and Wilson added a three-point play to give Las Vegas a six-point edge.

Seattle closed within two points three times before taking an 83-82 lead on Gabby Williams’ three-point play with 2:37 remaining.

The score was tied twice before Gray made a 3-pointer and added another basket to give the Aces a 92-87 lead with 30.7 seconds left.

Stewart’s put-back pulled the Storm within 95-92 with 6.1 seconds left, but Young made two free throws to seal the outcome.

Wilson had an assist and a basket as the Aces scored the first seven points of the third quarter to take a 51-47 lead.

The Storm missed their first 10 field-goal attempts of the half before Stewart’s basket trimmed Las Vegas’ lead to 54-51.

The Storm got as close as one point, but Gray made the last two baskets to give Las Vegas a 66-59 lead at the end of the period.

The Aces scored the first six points of the game before Stewart scored 13 straight Seattle points to help the Storm take a 23-19 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Loyd scored nine of the Storm’s first 10 points in the second quarter, and Seattle held a 47-44 halftime lead.

–Field Level Media