The Seattle Storm stole game one of the WNBA semifinals on Sunday, beating the Las Vegas Aces 76-73 at Michelob Ultra Arena in front of a record sell out crowd.
To be fair, Seattle didn’t really steal the game. They played better from the outset and lead by as many as 12 points in the first half. The Aces missed a ton of open shots in the first half and did well to hang around and not let the game get out of hand.
Vegas hung tough in the third quarter, pulling within two or three points a number of times only to see Seattle all star forward and MVP candidate Breanna Stewart make a tough shot to keep the Storm ahead.
In the fourth quarter however, the Aces rallied as point guards Chelsea Gray and Kelsey Plum took over. The crowd at Michelob Ultra Arena roared as the Aces took their first lead with 6:09 to play on a Riquina Williams bucket. The game was tight down the stretch as Gray and Plum tried their best to will Vegas to victory. It appeared Vegas might be able to pull off the win when A’ja Wilson corralled a rebound off a miss by Breanna Stewart and tried to pass to Gray. Aces guard Jackie Young inadvertently got in the way and the ball bounced off Gray and out of bounds giving Seattle the ball back. Jewell Loyd gave Seattle the lead back for good with a dagger three pointer and another long jumper just inside the arc to put the Storm up by three.
WNBA Coach of the Year Becky Hammon drew up a play for Kelsey Plum to try and tie it with a three. Plum got an open look but misfired, giving Seattle the win and a 1-0 lead in the best three out of five series.
Chelsea Gray led Vegas with 21 points and Plum added 20. A’ja Wilson was held to eight points but did pull down 12 rebounds. Jewell Loyd paced the Storm with 26 points including nine in the fourth quarter.
Game two will be on Wednesday at 7pm at Michelob Ultra Arena.