The Las Vegas Aces went on a 24-0 run in the 3rd quarter and won 93-76 in Game 4 of their semifinal series on Wednesday night at Footprint Center, providing the Phoenix Mercury a taste of their own medication after the blowout wins Phoenix published in Games 2 and 3.
The Aces success connected the series at 2-2 and required a Game 5 on Friday at 9 p.m. at Michelob ULTRA Arena in Vegas.
The Aces won the 3rd 29-11 after leading by simply 3 at halftime. The Microwave (Riquna Williams) warmed up with 11 points in a period of 2 minutes and 21 seconds in the frame. She completed with 17 points. Chelsea Gray (22 points, 6 helps) included 8 points in the quarter and Kelsey Plum (20 points, 6 helps) had 5 as the Aces backcourt managed the video game.
Vegas’ finest gamer, forward A’ja Wilson, got better from a 2-of-14 efficiency in Game 3 by going 7-of-13 from the field with 15 points, 12 rebounds and 2 blocks.
The Aces won Game 1 by 6, lost Game 2 by 26 and lost Game 3 by 27.
“Obviously a different outcome this game compared to the last one,” stated Aces head coach Bill Laimbeer. “A large part of that is our effort. Last game … was not pretty to watch on film. We showed (the players). They understood that they didn’t put forth the effort. Tonight they did. I thought one through 11, even including (injured) Angel McCoughtry, were all into the game from start to finish. That’s who we are. And we played a solid basketball game, no question about it.”
“I think that for us, getting beat the way that we did the past two games, it’s humbling,” Plum stated. “You look yourself in the mirror, ‘what can I do better as an individual, what can I do better to help the team.’ And I was just really proud of everyone that bought in tonight. It was a lot of fun.”
After a good very first quarter, the Aces routed by 4. They continued to put the pressure on Phoenix early in the 2nd and took the lead on a 3-pointer from Gray at the 6:40 mark. That was the start of Gray scoring seven-straight Vegas points and 10 of 12. The Aces would lead by as much as 5 in the frame.
Vegas gave up 34 indicate the mix of Shey Peddy, Diana Taurasi and Skylar Diggins-Smith in the very first half, however held Brittney Griner to 6. Peddy was 4-of-4 from the field and 2-of-2 from beyond the arc in the video game.
The Aces remained in threat of falling far behind early for the third-straight video game. Phoenix led 8-0 on a mid-range shot from Griner and 3s from Peddy and Taurasi. But the Vegas backcourt went on a 9-0 go to take ball game from 11-2 Mercury to 11-11. Wilson started a bit later on in the frame and had 8 points, 5 boards and 2 blocks at the break.
“When I’m aggressive, we look like a different team,” Wilson stated. “And I gotta just take it and go for it. Not necessarily force shots or jack up shots because I trust that my guards will put me in the best situation. But at the end of the day I gotta be more aggressive, I gotta be more assertive, because that’s when we’re rocking and rolling.”
The Aces lost points in the paint by 2 and needed to uncharacteristically make more 3s than their challenger. They were 11-of-22 from range while Phoenix was 8-of-19.
Vegas turned the ball over 9 less times than the Mercury.
Mercury guard Kia Nurse hurt her knee 39 seconds into the video game on a layup effort that was obstructed easily by Wilson. Her status for Game 5 is unidentified. Another Phoenix guard, Sophie Cunningham, missed out on Game 4 with a calf pressure after being noted as doubtful on Tuesday.