Las Vegas, NV — The Aces on Saturday night took care of business and then some, eliminating the Phoenix Mercury from these WNBA playoffs 117-80 before an inspired, raucous, towel-waving 9,126 at Michelob Ultra Arena.
Chelsea Gray had 27 points and eight assists and hit a career-high seven of Las Vegas’ WNBA playoff-record 23 three pointers to sweep the best-of-three series.
The Aces’ offense was unstoppable Saturday, setting the tone by making their first 10 shots from the field, set WNBA playoff record for consecutive field goals made to open a game (10) and treys in a half (11, in the first). The top-seeded Aces beat the Mercury 79-63 on Wednesday. Vegas finished 63.9% from behind the arc.
“Obviously happy to put a team away,” said Las Vegas coach Becky Hammon, who’s aiming to lead the Aces to their first WNBA title. “It’s always hard to put a team away.”
Balanced shooting translated to several new lines in the record books for the Aces, whose 23 made three-pointers marked a WNBA playoffs record. The Aces knocked down a lot of threes in the first half, which set a new playoffs record en route to a 63-44 halftime lead.
Gray got hot early and shot 9 of 11 from the field, a tally that included a game-high 7-of-8 effort from downtown. The Aces who won the best-of-three series 2-0.
Kelsey Plum chipped in 22 points for Las Vegas.
Kaela Davis led short-handed Phoenix with 23 points, and Diamond DeShields scored 21.
Hammon was much more impressed with a different number on the stat sheet: “Probably my favorite stat of the night is 31 assists on 41 field goals, because it’s been around a year that I’ve been really preaching to them, you know, ‘When we share everybody gets more,’” she explained. “I know it seems counterintuitive — the more you give away, the less you have. But it’s actually the opposite: The more you give, the more you’ll get back because you’re one set of hands giving, but there’s four giving back to you.”
Vegas had four other players that scored in double figures including starters A’ja Wilson 17 points and Jackie Young 15, while Riquna Williams and Kierstan Bell each scored 11 off the bench.
The No. 1 Aces will play the winner of the first round series between the No. 4-seeded Seattle Storm and the No. 5 Washington Mystics. The Storm lead the series 1-0 after winning Game 1 86-83 victory.
Game 2 will be played at 1 p.m. Sunday at Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle.