LAS VEGAS (September 13, 2023)—The No. 1 seed Las Vegas Aces took control early and never looked back as they dispatched the 8th-seeded Chicago Sky 87-59 in Game 1 of their best-two-out-of-three First Round playoff series Wednesday night at T-Mobile Arena. Chelsea Gray led the way with 20 points, Jackie Young had 18, Kelsey Plum contributed 16, A’ja Wilson finished with 14 and Alysha Clark chipped in 13. Kiah Stokes collected 14 rebounds. Kahleah Copper was Chicago’s leading scorer with 15 points.
The two teams meet again on Sunday, Sept. 17, at 12 pm PT at Michelob ULTRA Arena. If necessary, Game 3 will be contested on Wednesday, Sept. 20 in Chicago.
First Quarter Highlights (Las Vegas 27, Chicago 15)
The Aces scored the first 6 points and before the game was 4 minutes old, held a 12-5 lead. The Sky closed to 4, but the Aces began to pull away and an Alysha Clark 3-pointer with 1:28 remaining in the quarter put Las Vegas up by double digits, 25-15. The Aces lead never dropped below 10 points the remainder of the game. The Aces shot 64.7% (11-17 FGs) from the field and allowed 1 Sky point off of their 3 turnovers. The Sky were held to 33.3% (5-15 FGs) of their field goal attempts and gave up 6 points on 4 turnovers. The Aces outscored the Sky 16-8 points in the paint and 6-0 in transition. Wilson and Chicago’s Alanna Smith led all scorers with 8 points.
Second Quarter Highlights (Las Vegas 53, Chicago 36)
The Aces reeled off 8 unanswered points for a 41-22 lead midway through the period. The Aces made 45.5% of their field goal attempts and held Chicago to 36.4%. Plum scored 9 points for the Aces and Copper had a quarter-high 11 points for the Sky.
Third Quarter Highlights (Las Vegas 70, Chicago 46)
Both teams struggled to find the bottom of the net in the 3rd, as the Aces missed their first 8 field goal attempts and Chicago made 2 of 8 from the field. The Sky barely outshot the Aces 26.3% to 23.5% in the quarter. Young finished with 6 points and Elizabeth Williams topped Chicago with 4.
Fourth Quarter Highlights (Las Vegas 87, Chicago 59)
The Aces continued to expand their lead throughout the 4th and upped it to a high of 32 points, 87-55, before closing with the 28-point win.
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The Aces, who netted 53.8% of their shots in the first half, finished the game shooting 43.2% from the field, while the Sky made 33.3% of theirs.
Las Vegas outscored Chicago 27-15 on the fast break, and 44-28 in the paint.
The Aces scored 16 points off of 14 Chicago turnovers, 10 of which were Aces steals, and gave up 6 points on their 8 miscues.
Las Vegas went 16 of 17 from the free throw line, while Chicago made 6 of 8.
Wilson has scored in double figures in 24 of 29 playoff games (14 points)
Plum has now scored in double figures (16 points) in 18 of 21 playoff games, all of which have been 15 or more points.
Young has scored in double figures (18 points) 13 times in 29 playoff contests, including 6 with 15+ points.
Gray has scored in double figures (20 points) in 28 of 40 playoff games, including 14 times with 20 or more points.
Clark’s 13 points are tied for her 3rd-highest playoff scoring output (21 points vs Las Vegas, Oct. 4, 2020) and marked the 10th time in 23 playoff games she’s scored in double figures.
Stokes grabbed 15 rebounds, which ranks 2nd all-time in Aces playoff games (Liz Cambage, 17).
The 15 rebounds is a playoff record for Stokes (13 rebounds 2 times, last vs Phoenix, Sept. 17, 2022), who rebounded in double digits for the 5th time in 24 playoff contests.
The Aces played in front of the largest playoff crowd (12,927) since the franchise moved to Las Vegas (10,211 vs Connecticut, Sept. 13, 2022).
The Aces host the Sky in Game 2 of their best-of-three First Round Playoff Series on Sunday, Sept. 17, at 12 pm PT.