Aces go up 1-0 on Mercury in WNBA semifinals

Field Level Media/Reuters

Posted at Sep 29 2021 02:46 PM

Las Vegas Aces players celebrate defeating the Phoenix Mercury during Game One of the 2021 WNBA Playoffs Semifinals on September 28, 2021 at Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. David Becker, NBAE via Getty Images/AFP
Las Vegas Aces players celebrate defeating the Phoenix Mercury during Game One of the 2021 WNBA Playoffs Semifinals on September 28, 2021 at Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. David Becker, NBAE via Getty Images/AFP


Riquna Williams scored 26 points and Kelsey Plum added 25 off the bench as the host Las Vegas Aces defeated the Phoenix Mercury 96-90 in the first game of a WNBA semifinal playoff series Tuesday night.

Chelsea Gray recorded 17 points and 12 assists and A'ja Wilson scored 15 points with nine rebounds for the second-seeded Aces, who shook off the early effects of an eight-day layoff.

All five starters hit double-digit points for the fifth-seeded Mercury. Brittney Griner scored 24, Diana Taurasi 20, Kia Nurse 13, Brianna Turner 12 and Skylar Diggins-Smith 10.

Game 2 of the best-of-five series is Thursday night in Las Vegas.

The Mercury trailed by 10 after three quarters but opened the fourth with a 9-2 run that pulled them within three points.

Gray then assisted on Plum's 3-pointer and added a basket to give Las Vegas an 83-75 lead.

Phoenix got within four points twice before Wilson scored six straight to give the Aces a 91-81 lead with three minutes left.

Taurasi and Nurse each made a 3-pointer as the Mercury scored the first eight points of the game.

Vegas got within one point twice before Taurasi's 3-pointer gave Phoenix an 18-12 lead.

Diggins-Smith converted a three-point play and Taurasi hit a 3-pointer to give the Mercury their biggest lead at 30-21 at the end of the period.

The Aces used a 10-0 run to take a 37-36 lead midway through the second quarter.

Turner's layup ended the Mercury drought before Plum's 3-pointer started a run that gave Vegas a 46-41 edge.

Phoenix pulled within one point before Gray's jumper gave the Aces a 52-49 halftime lead.

The Mercury scored the first five points of the third quarter to take a two-point lead.

Liz Cambage and Plum each made a 3-pointer to give the Aces a 64-58 lead midway through the period.

Plum scored 12 points in the final five minutes as Vegas took a 76-66 lead at the end of the period.