(Photo credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports)
Chelsea Gray led a balanced attack with 20 points and seven assists as the top-seeded Las Vegas Aces rolled to an 87-59 victory over the visiting Chicago Sky in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series on Wednesday night.
Jackie Young had 18 points, six assists and three steals and Kelsey Plum scored 16 points for the Aces, who began their quest to repeat as WNBA champions. A'ja Wilson recorded 14 points, eight rebounds and four blocked shots and Alysha Clark scored 13 points off the bench for Las Vegas.
Kahleah Copper scored 15 points to pace eighth-seeded Chicago. Courtney Williams added nine points, 11 rebounds and six assists, and Elizabeth Williams grabbed 10 rebounds.
Game 2 of the best-of-3 series will be played Sunday afternoon in Las Vegas. If a Game 3 is necessary, it would be contested Sept. 20 in Chicago.
Las Vegas connected on 43.2 percent of its field-goal attempts, including 7 of 22 (31.8 percent) from 3-point range. Kiah Stokes collected 14 rebounds.
The Sky made just 33.3 percent of their attempts and were 5 of 22 (22.7 percent) from behind the arc.
Plum scored 13 first-half points as the Aces took a 53-36 lead. Copper had 13 in the half for Chicago.
Las Vegas never trailed and began establishing its superiority by making 11 of 17 first-quarter shots to take a 27-15 lead.
An 8-0 run early in the second quarter increased the edge to 39-20. Young registered a four-point play to push the lead to 48-26 with 3:35 left in the first half.
After possessing the 17-point halftime advantage, Las Vegas was sluggish and made just two free throws and no baskets over the first 4 1/2 minutes of the third quarter.
However, the Aces awoke with 11 consecutive points, beginning with Plum's 3-pointer. Young sank two treys during the burst as Las Vegas held a 66-40 lead with 3:30 to play in the third quarter.
The Aces led 70-46 entering the final stanza. Gray scored the first six points of an 8-0 run that saw Las Vegas push its lead to 80-50 with 5:44 remaining.
The lead topped out at 32 points.
--Field Level Media