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Aces topple Mercury, finish season as No. 1 seed

May 25, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Wilson official basketball with WNBA logo goes through the net during the game between the LA Sparks and the Las Vegas Aces at Crypto.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

A’ja Wilson scored 36 points and the defending WNBA champion Las Vegas Aces concluded the regular season with a 100-85 victory over the visiting Phoenix Mercury on Sunday afternoon.

Kelsey Plum added 30 points and Chelsea Gray had 21 points and eight assists for the Aces (34-6), who will be the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. The Aces, who have won four games in a row, will host the No. 8 seed Chicago Sky (18-22) in a best-of-three series starting Wednesday.

Moriah Jefferson scored 22 points, Brittney Griner had 21 and Sug Sutton, who had the first triple-double in franchise history (18 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists) in a 94-73 home loss to Las Vegas on Friday, added 14 points for the Mercury.

Phoenix lost its last 11 games to finish the season 9-31 while playing down the stretch without Diana Taurasi (toe injury), Sophie Cunningham (jaw) and Shey Peddy (concussion protocols).

Phoenix scored the first four points of the third quarter to get within eight points before the Aces’ hot shooting took over.

Plum made four 3-pointers and another field goal, Wilson had four field goals and two free throws and Gray made two 3-pointers as Las Vegas outscored the Mercury 30-18 in the period to take an 83-59 lead into the fourth quarter.

The Mercury got off to a good start just as they did before fading in Friday’s loss.

They took a 23-21 lead late in the first quarter, but Gray made consecutive 3-pointers to complete a 7-0 run that gave Las Vegas a 28-23 lead at the end of the period.

Michaela Onyenwere’s jumper started the second-quarter scoring and the Mercury got within three points three more times before the Aces increased the lead.

Alysha Clark’s 3-pointer pushed the lead to 41-33 before Phoenix crept within two points.

Wilson made four field goals during a closing 10-0 run that gave Las Vegas a 53-41 lead at halftime.

–Field Level Media