Las Vegas Aces advance to WNBA Finals with win over Seattle Storm as Sue Bird’s profession comes to shut

SEATTLE — Coming by means of in the identical spherical the place they fell quick a 12 months in the past, the Las Vegas Aces returned to the WNBA Finals for the second time previously three years with a 97-92 victory Tuesday in Sport 4 of their semifinal collection towards the Seattle Storm, successful 3-1.

The Aces, who misplaced to Seattle within the 2020 WNBA Finals, have been on the verge of returning final 12 months earlier than shedding Sport 5 of their semifinal collection with the Phoenix Mercury with home-court benefit below former head coach Invoice Laimbeer.

This time round, below first-year head coach Becky Hammon, Las Vegas ensured there could be no such stumble, successful three consecutive video games after dropping Sport 1 of the collection at residence.

Within the course of, the Aces ended Sue Bird’s legendary WNBA profession. The Storm level guard, a 13-time All-Star and four-time champion in Seattle, introduced in June that this is able to be her remaining season.

Making an attempt to increase Bird’s profession, the Storm received dominant performances from each of their different stars. Breanna Stewart’s career-high 42 factors tied Angel McCoughtry for probably the most ever in a WNBA playoff recreation. Fellow All-Star Jewell Loyd added 29 factors, surpassing the 26 she scored in Sport 1 as a brand new playoff profession excessive.

The 71 mixed factors for Loyd and Stewart have been probably the most ever for teammates within the postseason, surpassing their very own file of 65 set within the 2020 Finals towards the Aces.

But Las Vegas countered Seattle’s stars with deeper offensive contributions and massive shot-making from guard Chelsea Grey down the stretch of a fourth quarter that noticed three ties and three lead modifications.

Grey scored three consecutive jumpers with a excessive diploma of issue within the recreation’s remaining 2:03, the primary two giving the Aces the lead after Seattle tied the sport and the final one extending it to 5 with 30.7 seconds remaining. The Storm by no means received nearer than three factors once more.

With 31 factors and 10 assists — the primary such recreation in WNBA playoff historical past, in keeping with ESPN Stats & Info analysis — Grey led 4 Aces gamers scoring a minimum of 15 factors. A’ja Wilson (23 factors, 13 rebounds) had her second double-double of the collection, Jackie Younger scored 18 factors and Kelsey Plum 15.

Loyd and Stewart have been the lone Seattle gamers to attain in double figures.