The Las Vegas Aces undid the Phoenix Mercury Saturday, draining a WNBA record 23 3-pointers to charge to a 117-80 victory and advance to the semifinals.
Chelsea Gray led an unstoppable offense, draining seven of her eight attempted 3-pointers to propel her to a game-high 27 points.
Five other Aces finished in the double-figures, including Kelsey Plum, who logged 22 points, sinking four shots from beyond the arc, while A’ja Wilson contributed 17 points behind 77.8 percent shooting. As a team, Las Vegas ended the night at 63.9 percent from 3-point range.
“Right now, as a team, we’re playing our best basketball on both ends,” Gray said after Saturday’s game. “You want to peak at the right time. And for me individually, that’s what I’m feeling.”
The BANK IS OPENNNNN 🗣️ @cgray209 Gray has hit a season-high 7 made triples 🙌 pic.twitter.com/uWMcayDp7Q— WNBA (@WNBA) August 21, 2022
The BANK IS OPENNNNN 🗣️ @cgray209 Gray has hit a season-high 7 made triples 🙌 pic.twitter.com/uWMcayDp7Q
Phoenix, with limited resources, crumbled under Las Vegas’ stifling attack. Diamond DeShields tried her best to carry her team, logging 21 points, two assists and two steals, but the Mercury’s trying season proved too much to overcome.
Star Brittney Griner has been wrongfully detained in Russia since February, sentenced to nine years in prison for drug charges. Then, Tina Charles agreed to a contract divorce in June with Phoenix, leaving for the Storm. Diana Taurasi suffered a quad injury, forcing her to miss the end of the regular season and the playoffs, while Skylar Diggins-Smith has been away from the Mercury due to personal reasons.
Things went from bad to worse for the Mercury when Shey Peddy went down in Game 1 of the playoffs, rupturing her Achilles.
“There were a lot of challenges, just really proud of our team and grateful for the opportunity to represent the Phoenix Mercury. They have great fight, great grit. They’re hardy, they’re tough,” Nygaard said. “But we know there’s bigger things in life, too. As hard as our season was, it’s not as hard as BG’s experience right now being in a Russian jail. So, we try to keep all that in perspective.”
The Aces will face the winner of the Seattle Storm and Washington Mystics series in the semifinals of the WNBA playoffs.