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FSM Essential Recap: Aces vs Mercury – Semifinals-  Game 1

Franchise Sports Media

Las Vegas Aces (0-1)  |  Seattle Storm (1-0)


Las Vegas fell victim to a Jewell Loyd masterclass down the stretch as the Storm pulled off a 76-73 win to steal Game 1 of the semifinals on the road.




Aces vs Storm
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

Any follower of the WNBA understands that a matchup between the Las Vegas Aces and Seattle Storm is about as good as it gets from a viewing experience. The back-and-forth between some of the league’s best and most accomplished players often produces high-scoring, closely-played basketball games, which conclude in a dramatic ending.

Sunday afternoon’s opening semifinal game checked a few of the boxes.

Entertaining? Check. Closely-played? Yes indeed. Dramatic ending? Undoubtedly. But where Game 1 differed from the recent past was on the offensive end — it was hardly a masterclass by either team, a few of the stars struggled to put the ball in the basket, and the scoring explosions from the offenses were few and far between. Simply put, it was a performance that both the Aces and Storm would likely forget.


Aces vs Storm
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

The woes began early for Las Vegas, who dug into an early double-digit hole due to a painfully cold 2-14 start from the field, coinciding with Breanna Stewart and Seattle‘s only good quarter of basketball. The Storm‘s shooting prowess disappeared from then on, as they failed to reach 20 points in each of the following three quarters, cracking the door open for even the slightest bit of solid Aces offense to creep through.

Chelsea Gray and Kelsey Plum led the creeping for much of the second half until a Riquna Williams 3-pointer in the fourth quarter got Vegas through the door and in the lead (65-63) for the first time all game.

But the Aces failed to slam the door shut, and Jewell Loyd made them pay. As she did in Game 1 against the Washington Mystics a little more than a week ago, Loyd brought the Storm from behind and carried them across the finish line. She scored 10 of her 26 points over the final five minutes and change, which included some daggers, to give Seattle a 76-73 win.



  • Seattle’s All-Stars outshine Vegas’


There were six 2022 WNBA All-Stars on the court during Sunday’s contest, and half had All-Star-like performances. The three who played well — Breanna Stewart, Jewell Loyd, and Sue Bird — combined to score 52 of Seattle’s 76 points on 48 percent shooting, as Stewart paced the Storm early and Loyd closed the show. That leaves the other three All-Stars — Jackie Young, Kelsey Plum, and A’ja Wilson — as the ones who struggled. The Aces‘ trio had a quiet 39 points between them on a brutal 36 percent from the floor. However, it was the non-2022 All-Star Chelsea Gray whose play was inspiring.


  • Missed Opportunity


The Aces led the Storm by a point with just about two minutes to play. With the lead and momentum, Vegas was in possession of the ball and gearing up to potentially extend the lead with a successful trip down on the other end of the court. But the Aces never made it past halfcourt — A’ja Wilson sailed the ball out of bounds, following a Seattle miss, trying to find one of Chelsea Gray or Jackie Young, who collided with one another as the ball traveled their direction. The turnover paved the way for a Jewell Loyd 3-pointer, which put Seattle back on top and kept the Aces from ever regaining the lead.




Chelsea Gray (Aces): 21 PTS, 5 ASTS, 2 STL, 1 BLK

Kelsey Plum (Aces): 20 PTS, 4 REBS, 2 ASTS

Jewell Loyd (Storm): 26 PTS, 4 ASTS, 4/10 3PT

Breanna Stewart (Storm): 24 PTS, 6 REBS, 2 ASTS, 1 STL, 3 BLK


Game 2 of Aces-Storm will take place at Michelob ULTRA Arena on Wednesday, August 31st, at 7 p.m. ESPN2 will have the broadcast.

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-Cole Huff– Franchise Sports Media

Follow Cole on Twitter @ColeHoops

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Photography by TQ for Franchise Sports Media