Chelsea Gray scored 27 points in less than three quarters Saturday night as the top-seeded Las Vegas Aces completed a 2-0 sweep of the visiting Phoenix Mercury with a 117-80 rout.
Kelsey Plum added 22 for the Aces, who advance to the WNBA semifinals against either Seattle or Washington. The Storm own a 1-0 lead on the Mystics with a chance to end the series Sunday in Seattle.
A’ja Wilson contributed 17 points and six assists for Las Vegas, and Jackie Young netted 15 points, missing just one shot. The Aces hit 64.1 percent of their field goal attempts, including a league-record 23 made 3-pointers in 36 attempts.
Reserve Kaela Davis scored 23 points and Diamond DeShields added 21 for Phoenix, which simply couldn’t keep pace for more than a quarter with such a thin roster. The Mercury played without starters Diana Taurasi, Skylar Diggins-Smith and Shey Peddy.
The series gave Las Vegas a first step toward what it hopes is its first league title. It also gave the Aces a measure of revenge over a team that eliminated them from the playoffs last year en route to an appearance in the WNBA Finals.
Phoenix nearly matched the scalding Aces bucket-for-bucket in the first quarter. Although Las Vegas took a 26-16 lead just over six minutes into the game on a Gray layup, the Mercury rallied and got a Davis floater just before the horn to pull within 34-30.
The game’s competitive phase ended in the second quarter. The Aces rattled off a 9-0 run to push the lead into double figures and then just kept adding to it. Two foul shots by Young with 2.0 seconds left made it 63-44 at the half.
It got truly ugly in the third quarter when Las Vegas ripped off an 18-2 burst, canning one 3-pointer after another to rev up a crowd of more than 9,000. The margin got to 30 before the period was halfway over and was 93-59 going to the fourth.
–Field Level Media