Video Credit: WNBA

FSM Essential Recap: Aces vs. Mercury – Semifinals Game 4

Franchise Sports Media

Las Vegas Aces (2-2)  |  Phoenix Mercury (2-2)



With their backs completely against the wall, the Las Vegas Aces responded with their best game of the series. Led by Chelsea Gray’s 22 points, Vegas rolled to a 93-76 victory in Game 4 to force a series-deciding Game 5 on Friday night at Michelob Ultra Arena.




Aces vs Mercury
Photo Credit: Las Vegas Aces

The Mercury got off to another promising start with Brittney Griner nailing a mid-range jumper on the team’s first possession and then forcing A’ja Wilson into a miss on the other end. Back-to-back three-pointers ensued from Shey Peddy and Diana Taurasi, and the Aces found themselves in another unfavorable start, trailing 8-0. But, after starting the game with four straight misses, the Aces evened the game at 11 by making five of their next six. Phoenix kept their distance, though. Peddy drained another three to give her 11 first-quarter points as the Mercury finished the opening frame with a 29-24 lead.

A 15-7 Las Vegas run over the first half of the quarter, powered by seven quick points from Chelsea Gray, gave the Aces their first lead since Game 1. Pumping energy back into the arena, Diggins-Smith answered with two buckets before Peddy stole an errant pass and took it coast-to-coast for an uncontested two. The two defenses picked up over the final three minutes of the quarter. Kiah Stokes and Brittney Griner controlled the defensive paint, rejecting and challenging multiple shots at the rim. Yet, the second quarter ended with A’ja Wilson floating a shot over the outstretched hands of Griner, giving Vegas a 49-46 lead into the locker room.

Aces vs Mercury
Photo Credit: Las Vegas Aces

Brittney Griner and A’ja Wilson traded contested shots on the opening possessions of the quarter, and then the game completely flipped. Las Vegas would use a 24-0 run to open up a 27 point lead over the Mercury. The Aces made nine of 13 shots during the run, including three made three-pointers from Riquna Williams, while Phoenix missed 11 shots and became increasingly sloppy with the ball. The Mercury eventually dwindled their deficit to 21 by the quarter’s end as Kia Vaughn and Diana Taurasi scored Phoenix’s final nine points.

Again, Griner gave the Mercury some needed scoring to begin the quarter, followed by a Bria Hartley three to cut the Aces’ lead to 16 and momentarily make the game interesting. However, Wilson and Gray made sure Game 4 didn’t slip from the Aces’ hands. The two scored the next eight points for Vegas to help keep their lead bouncing comfortably between 15 and 20 points. By then, the game was all but over. Kelsey Plum and a string of reserves closed the showed and the Aces grabbed a 93-76 win to force a Game 5 on Friday in Las Vegas.




Rebounding – After being outrebounded 58-29 in Game 3, Vegas responded by winning the rebounding battle 37-35 in Game 4. The team that has pulled down more boards has been the winner of each game in this series.

Three-Point Shooting – The Aces made 11 of 22 threes in Game 4. Three belonged to Plum, three to Williams, one to Cambage, and four to Gray. Las Vegas made nine triples in their only other win this series (Game 1), which could be something to watch for in Game 5.



Slow Start – Phoenix began the game red hot for the fourth time in as many games. Taurasi and Shey Peddy led the Mercury to an 11-2 start, giving Game 4 a familiar poor vibe for the Aces. Fortunately for Las Vegas, they were able to weather the storm. But that’s a dangerous game to play in a win-or-go-home situation.



The Aces will look to advance to their second straight WNBA FInals with a win over the Mercury on Friday, October 8th. Tune into ESPN2 at 6:00 p.m. PST to follow Game 5 live, and remember to check back here for the game recap.

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-Cole Huff– Franchise Sports Media

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