LAS VEGAS (August 17, 2023)—Chelsea Gray recorded the franchise’s first points-rebounds-assists triple-double to lead the Las Vegas Aces (28-3) to an 88-75 victory over the New York Liberty (24-7) on Thursday night in Michelob ULTRA Arena, extending the team’s home winning streak in regular season games to 21. Gray finished with a game-high-tying 22 points a career-high 11 rebounds and 11 assists. Also scoring in double figures for the Aces were A’ja Wilson (21), Kelsey Plum (18) and Jackie Young (16). Sabrina Ionescu tied Gray as the game’s top scorer with 22 points.
First Quarter Highlights (Las Vegas 25, New York 21)
New York jumped out to an 8-0 lead on 3 of 6 shooting from the floor, while the Aces went 0 of 3 over the first 2:24. After a Las Vegas timeout, Plum sparked a 14-7 Aces run with a 3-pointer at 7:18. Plum (8 points) and Gray (6) combined for all 14 points in the run. New York hit a 3-pointer at 3:51 and followed with a free throw at 3:30 for a 19-14 lead. Young netted a 3 with 3:04 on the clock to jump start an 11-2 run, 7 of which came from Young, to close the quarter up 25-20. During the spurt, the Aces forced the Liberty into 0 of 4 shooting from the floor. Gray and Plum led the Aces with 8 points apiece, while Ionescu tossed in 8 for the Liberty. The Aces shot 50 percent from the field, compared to 35 percent by New York.
Second Quarter Highlights (Las Vegas 53, New York 40)
The Aces lead vacillated between 1 and 8 points for much of the period, but a late 8-0 run gave Las Vegas its first double-digit lead of the game, 49-38 with 1:12 remaining before the half. Wilson led all scorers with 11 points in the quarter, while Stewart’s 6 led the Liberty. The Aces outshot the Liberty 45 percent to 35.3 percent from the field and scored 8 points on 4 Liberty turnovers, while giving up 0 points on their lone miscue.
Third Quarter Highlights (Las Vegas 68, New York 64)
Strong defensive efforts on both sides of the court kept the scoring low, and after an and-1 by Young, the Aces lead was 56-42 at 7:27. Ionescu hit back-to-back 3s in a span of 46 seconds, forcing Becky Hammon to call a timeout with the Aces lead slashed to 56-48 at 6:28. A barrage of 3-pointers by the Liberty, who hit a total of 6 of 14 (.429) in the 3rd period, helped them outscore the Aces 24-15 as the home side’s lead narrowed to 68-64. A Ionescu scored 9, all from behind the arc, to lead New York.
Fourth Quarter Highlights (Las Vegas 88, New York 75)
The Liberty got as close as 5 points, 75-70 after they hit their only 3s of the final stanza. From there, the Aces cranked up their defense and outscored the Liberty 13-5 over the final 5 minutes of play for the 88-75 win. Wilson, who shot a perfect 4 of 4 from the floor and 2 of 2 from the line, scored a high of 10 points, and Gray scored 5 and dished out 5. The Aces, who outscored the Liberty 20-11 in the final frame, hit 8 of 16 from the field, while the Liberty made 4 of 9 of their field goal attempts and committed 8 turnovers.
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The Aces outrebounded the Liberty 35-28, after losing the battle of the boards 49-28, Tuesday in the Commissioner’s Cup Championship Game.
The Aces scored 21 points off the Liberty’s 16 turnovers, and allowed 8 points on 8 of their own miscues.
The Aces shot 44.4 percent (32-72 FGs) and 36 percent (9-25 3FGs) from behind the arc, while New York made 39.1 percent (25-64 FGs) of their field goal attempts and netted 38.5 percent (15-39 3FGs) from 3-point range.
Las Vegas outscored the Liberty 32-18 points in the paint and 17-9 in second chance points.
Gray produced the second points-rebounds-assists triple-double of her career and first in franchise history (22 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists); Margo Dydek had the only other triple-double for the franchise with 12 points, 11 rebounds and 10 blocked shots on June 7, 2001, against Orlando.
Gray set the franchise single-season assist record in 2022 with 212. She passed that tonight for a new franchise high (218).
Gray’s 11 rebounds were a career high (10, vs Washington, July 7, 2019)
Jonquel Jones, who produced double-doubles in 9 of her past 11 regular season games, was held to 8 points and 8 rebounds.
The Aces held Breanna Stewart, the league’s second-leading scorer entering the game (23.3 ppg), to 13 points.
The Aces lead the league in scoring (93.8 ppg), field goal percentage (.494), 3-point field goal percentage (.388), free throw percentage (.833), offensive efficiency rating (114.3), defensive efficiency rating (96.7), net rating (17.5) and effective field goal percentage (.562).
The 28-3 record ties the 2000 Los Angeles Sparks for the best record through 31 games in league history.
The Aces host the Los Angeles on Saturday, Aug. 19 (12 pm PT, ABC), before hitting the road for four games Aug. 22-28. Also on Saturday the franchise will celebrate its past with approximately 60 former players who played for the Utah Starzz (1997-2002), the San Antonio Stars (2003-2017) and the Aces (2018-current) in attendance. Following the game, fans will have the opportunity to attend an autograph session with franchise alumni.