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Jewell Loyd leads Storm past Aces in series opener

Oct 10, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; A view of the offical game ball during the second half of game one of the 2021 WNBA Finals between the Phoenix Mercury and the Chicago Sky at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Jewell Loyd scored 26 points, including Seattle’s final six, as the visiting Storm defeated the Las Vegas Aces 76-73 in Game 1 of a WNBA semifinal playoff series Sunday afternoon.

Breanna Stewart added 24 points and Tina Charles had 13 points and 18 rebounds for the fourth-seeded Storm, who will look to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series when Game 2 is played Wednesday night in Las Vegas.

Chelsea Gray scored 21 points, Kelsey Plum added 20 and Jackie Young 11 to lead the No. 1 seed Aces.

Plum and Riquina Williams made back-to-back 3-pointers to give Las Vegas its first lead of the game, 65-64 midway through the fourth quarter, and Plum followed with a layup.

Loyd’s 3-pointer gave Seattle a two-point lead before Gray’s basket tied the score at 73 with 1:29 left.

The tie was broken when Loyd made one of two free throws and after a Plum turnover Loyd added a jumper to give the Storm a 76-73 lead with 34.6 seconds left.

After an exchange of missed 3-pointers the Aces got the ball back with seven seconds remaining. After a timeout Plum missed a 3-pointer and Stewart rebounded.

Plum’s three-point play and Young’s basket helped Las Vegas get within two points midway through the third quarter.

Sue Bird assisted on three consecutive Storm baskets as they increased the lead to 58-51.

Williams made a 3-pointer and Plum added a three-point play as the Aces cut the deficit to 60-57 at the end of the period.

The Storm raced to a 15-4 lead against the cold-shooting Aces.

Iliana Rupert’s 3-pointer ended a nearly six-minute drought for Las Vegas, but Seattle held a 26-15 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The Aces pulled with three points as the Storm scored just four points during the first six minutes of the second quarter.

The Storm took a nine-point lead twice before Gray’s jumper trimmed the lead to 43-36 at halftime.

–Field Level Media