FSM Essential Recap: Aces vs Storm – Game 36 – 2022

Franchise Sports Media

Las Vegas Aces (25-10)  |  Seattle Storm (22-14)


Gray, Plum, Wilson, and the Aces clip the Bird’s wings as they roll over the Storm in an old-fashioned barn-burner.


Aces vs Storm
Photo Credit: Breanna Biorato/Franchise Sports Media

It was evident from the onset that the Las Vegas Aces fans, as well as NBA stars Chris Paul, Devin Booker, and Mikal Bridges of the Phoenix Suns as well as the Atlanta Hawks Trae Young respected the legendary Sue Bird and her illustrious career, but soon as the ball was tipped the arena’s focus shifted to the Aces‘ quest for that elusive WNBA title!

Early on, they were all treated to exactly what they came to see. Seattle Storm’s stars Bird, Breanna Stewart, and Jewell Loyd made elite-level plays, as Las Vegas Aces star A’ja Wilson showed why she was one of the premier players in the league. Wilson’s teammates showed why the Aces are good money to win it all.

The “stars” were indeed aligned as the Aces Chelsea Gray, Kelsey Plum, and Wilson, along with the Storm’s Bird,  Stewart, and Loyd, gave the record-setting 10,015 Las Vegas Aces fans exactly what they paid to see, WNBA action at its finest.

After the first quarter of play, the game was tightly played as both teams made plays, made shots, and executed at elite levels, but it was the Storm that came out in the second quarter infused with a sense of urgency as they knocked down shot after shot behind Loyd’s three-point shooting. Loyd was 4 for seven behind the arc to ballon the Storm leading to almost 20 points at one point. However, once Aces’ head coach Becky Hammon reinserted Wilson and Plum back into the game, the energy in the building slowly began to rise.

By the time the energy in the Michelob ULTRA ARENA reached a fevered pitch, the Aces had clawed their way back into the game. On a drive to the basket by Plum, she tricked the entire arena with a long pass to the corner to a wide-open Riquna Williams, who knocked down the 22-foot three-pointer at the buzzer, which cut the Storm lead to a 1-point, 51-50 deficit.


 The second half was as action-packed as the first half, as both teams lit it up.  


Aces vs Storm
Photo Credit: Breanna Biorato/Franchise Sports Media

After three-quarters of back-and-forth action and total raucous energy from the crowd, Chelsea Gray just wasn’t satisfied. After her steal with 3.6 seconds left in the 3rd, she drove the ball the length of the court and launched a 27-footer at the buzzer that blew the roof off of Michelob ULTRA ARENA!

The Aces appeared to struggle to maintain defensive pressure throughout an entire possession. They would make great defensive plays but not corral a long rebound or knock a ball away from a ballhandler, only to not secure the loose ball. However, the potent Aces offense makes it hard for teams to “out-score” them, much less defend them.

It was late in the 4th quarter when the Aces decided to secure this win with two outstanding defensive efforts. On consecutive drives to the basket, Rupert rejected a storm layup out of bounds, much to the delight of teammate Chelsea Gray and on the issuing inbound play, Wilson got in on the action blocking a shot and keeping the ball in play (ala the late, great Bill Russell) and corralled this ball and pushed it ahead to Plum who knocked down the three-pointer forcing a Seattle timeout and ultimately securing not only the win but the #1 seed!

Coach Hammon referred to “accountability” and “being on the tape” in the post-game press conference. “They don’t want to be on the tape…anybody can be on the tape”. She also pointed out that this season’s team holds one another accountable and works diligently to make the right play.


Aces vs Storm
Photo Credit: Breanna Biorato/Franchise Sports Media

Hammon stated, “In the past, they seemed to go rogue at the end of games.” Something that the MVP (as “Chelsea Nichelle Gray” referred to her) also elaborated on as she said that “…this is what we sacrifice for. Why would we not get the ball to who is hot, and tonight it was Chelsea!

As the fans bid Bird a farewell, it was not missed that the legend has had her impact on the sport as few have, and Hammon, Gray, and Wilson all gave her her flowers as an all-time great. “I know that we were honored to have her as a teammate in her last Olympics,” Wilson said after the game.

Before she went on a 2-minute rant about getting every Las Vegan to the arena for the 1st round of the playoffs, Wilson named everyone from politicians to Flava Flav and Dana White in a hilarious press conference that prompted her teammate Gray to cover Wilson’s microphone and light-heartedly yell, “Cut“!

Bird ended the season with a 6-point, 7-assist performance, but the heavy lifting was done by Loyd, who had a fantastic day scoring 38 points on a career-high 8/14 night shooting from the three-point line. Stewart also had an excellent outing for the Storm, finishing the night with 21 points and 15 rebounds.

Those efforts weren’t enough to subdue the determined Aces, as the Big 3 finished with 81 of the Aces’ 109 points. Wilson capped off the night with 25 points, ten rebounds, and one massive block. Plum added 23 while running the team efficiently. However, the night was all Gray as she finished with 33 points and 11 of 11 shooting from the free-throw line.

The Aces will take on the eighth-seed Phoenix Mercury in the First Round of the playoffs, beginning Wednesday at Michelob ULTRA Arena. Tip on ESPN is slated for 7 pm



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-Che Jones – Franchise Sports Media

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