The Las Vegas Aces and Seattle Storm were as evenly matched as two playoff teams could be. While Las Vegas has been the best team all season, Seattle has a habit of picking up their game in the postseason.
Their WNBA Playoff semi-final series has seen every game come down to the wire. There was no reason to expect anything different from game 4. After a ridiculous level of basketball, the Aces won 97-92, eliminating the Storm in the process.
It’s no secret that Las Vegas was looking at this season to be the one where it finally breaks through and wins a championship. The team has made the finals several times but hasn’t been able to close the deal. New head coach Becky Hammon seems to have the team locked in on its singular goal.
Aces point guard Chelsea Gray was the hero of the night, hitting three jump shots in the last two minutes, which gave Vegas the lead and the eventual win.
“We didn’t go last year, and it hurt,” Aces guard Chelsea Gray told ESPN. “It stung. That was the hardest game.”
As good as Seattle is, they had no answer for Chelsea, who seemed to cover the entire court at times. No, really. It felt like there were multiple clones of the guard all playing at the same time. The four-time All-Star had 31 points and 10 assists, and is averaging 24 points per game in the playoffs.
“I don’t think anyone on planet Earth can guard her,” Storm head coach Noelle Quinn said. “She was unconscious. We did a lot of things this series to try to slow her down. You limit her scoring, she has the ability to pass and playmake. She’s an incredible player.”
What makes the Aces’ win so impressive is that Seattle’s superstar Breanna Stewart was on fire, dropping 42 points, tying Angel McCoughtry’s playoff record. Her teammate Jewell Loyd was just as brilliant with 29 points, a playoff high for the four-time All Star.
“Jewell and I texted before the game that we wanted to make sure that we left it all out on the court,” Stewart said. “We did everything we possibly could.”
Sadly for WNBA fans, the Storm’s loss also meant the end of legendary star Sue Bird’s career. With the crowd chanting “Thank You Sue,” the four-time champion and five-time Olympic gold medalist walked off into the sunset.
“I’m proud of everything we’ve accomplished here. Of course I’m sad, but there’s happiness too, to be able to have a moment like that with the fans, to have them chant the way they did,” Bird told ESPN. “I know the tears don’t look like happy tears, but there’s a lot of happiness
Las Vegas awaits the winner of Chicago vs Connecticut, who play game 5 Thursday, Sept. 8 at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2.