Aces rout Mercury 93-76 to even WNBA semifinals at 2-all

Chelsea Gray scored 22 points and the Las Vegas Aces used a massive third quarter run to beat the Phoenix Mercury 93-76, evening the WNBA semifinals at 2-all

PHOENIX — Chelsea Gray scored 22 points and the Las Vegas Aces used a massive third quarter run to beat the Phoenix Mercury 93-76 on Wednesday night, evening the WNBA semifinals at 2-all.

The Aces got off to a good start for the first time in three games and ran away from the Mercury with a 26-2 run to begin the third quarter.

A’ja Wilson bounced back from a shaky Game 3 with 15 points and 12 rebounds, Kelsey Plum scored 20 points and Las Vegas shot 11 of 22 from 3 to set up a decisive Game 5 Friday in Las Vegas. The winner faces the Chicago Sky after they took out the Connecticut Sun in four games.

Phoenix had to play without guard Sophie Cunningham due to a calf strain, then lost guard Kim Nurse to a knee injury 39 seconds into the game.

The Mercury were sharp early, thanks to a lift from Shey Peddy (13 points), but were disjointed at both ends during the Aces’ third-quarter run.

Diana Taurasi and Skylar Diggins-Smith had 14 points each to lead Phoenix.

Las Vegas won the series’ first game, but the Mercury won in consecutive routs to take a 2-1 series lead.

Phoenix set WNBA records for points (117) and points in a half (68) to win Game 2, then played one of its best all-around games of the season to move within one win of its first WNBA Finals since winning the 2014 title.

After being forced to play the first home game at Arizona State — Disney On Ice was previously scheduled at the Footprint Center — the Mercury returned to their actual home for Game 4, playing the second game of a doubleheader following a Suns and Lakers preseason NBA game.

The Aces got off to a much stronger start than the previous two games, withstanding Phoenix’s good early shooting then pulling into the lead midway through the second quarter. Gray had 14 points by halftime to give the Aces a 49-46 lead.

Las Vegas swarmed the Mercury to start the third quarter, dropping in 3s and getting out on the break as the crowd groaned, extending the lead to 75-48. The Aces withstood a Phoenix fourth quarter run and Liz Cambage’s fifth foul to earn a chance to clinch the series at home.

UP NEXT

Game 5 is Friday in Las Vegas.

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More AP women’s basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

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