CHICAGO – In what many consider a potential WNBA final, the Las Vegas Aces Won the second game of the annual WNBA Commissioners Cup with a 93-83 victory over the host Chicago Sky On Tuesday at Winterst Arena.
but it was Chelsea Gray Who was named the best player in the game after scoring 19 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds. Gray, the only Vegas player not to be named an All-Star and who played in the game in Chicago earlier this month, instead experienced her own moment at Wintrust this week and was embraced by her teammates when she was revealed as the top player.
“At the end of the day, you can talk about numbers and this and that, but she wins games, and that to me should be the most important thing,” Bloom said of Gray. “She’s the MVP tonight, but she’s led our team all season. I feel, frankly, that she’s not getting the love and credit she deserves, and I’m really glad people saw that tonight.”
Despite Tuesday’s loss, the defending WNBA champion Sky (21-7) remained top of the WNBA standings and the Aces (20-8) were second with less than three weeks left in the regular season. The two teams, the only two teams to seal playoff places so far, have topped the standings for most of the season.
Each Aces player was awarded $30,000, with Gray receiving an additional $5,000 to be named Player of the Year. Each Sky player won $10,000. Coinbase, the sponsor of the cup, is also giving out an additional $5,000 crypto reward for each player in the tournament game.
The trophy also included $165,000 that was donated to charities across all 12 franchise markets.
Tuesday’s game was eerily similar to the Aces’ loss to the Sky in late June, when the Aces blew up a 28-point lead, giving the Sky the biggest win in league history. This time around, Vegas has kept its course during Chicago’s comeback efforts to sponsor the business.
The Aces shook the skies again on their heels from the start, scoring the first 13 points of the game and leaping forward by as much as 23 points in the second quarter. Chicago finally found a groove and started shooting its outdoor shots with a cannon Emma Mesman 3 reduce the deficit to 12 in the last minute of the first half by Jacky YoungThrowing the ball in reaction increased Vegas’ lead to 14 points in the break.
Kolaya copper And the Rebecca Gardner She found success downhill to help Sky pull off in seven with less than 20 seconds left in the third, but Plum’s 3 to make it 10 points ahead in the final frame gave the Aces momentum the rest of the way, allowing them to hold the double for most of the fourth quarter.
“We had some slow starts against this team and had to work our way up,” Parker said of the lessons the team learned in tournament preparation on Tuesday. “So I think it’s more than that that we don’t face adversity; I think we were built for that. But that doesn’t push ourselves into it.”
Coaches James Wade (Chicago) and Becky Hammon (Vegas), who noted their experience playing in similar “Cups” overseas, said they like how the NBA has built its own championship season.
“I think it’s really interesting,” Wade said before the match. “I think over time, as the tradition grows, you’ll see more and more teams take pride in it, especially when you add the element of the charitable cause you’re playing for, that adds more incentive. … It gives you the championship experience when it comes to playing money games. I think it’s good all the way.”
Since the All-Star break, the Aces have won six of their seven games behind a renewed focus on defense. Sky shot 40.5% of the field against the Aces and just 20% of 3.
“We had a little bit of the moment of coming to Jesus after all the stars,” Hammon said. “I think the way we ended that last two and a half weeks before the All-Stars left a really bad taste in everyone’s mouths. Right now, it’s all about defense only… they responded most of the time, I think.”
And while they celebrated Tuesday’s win fittingly – Hamon was seen on social media releasing a shower of champagne into the locker room, Gray brought a bottle into the room for the media after the game, and Hamon’s young son Kayden even showed up on the podium to be seated. Together with his mother and her players – the Aces know that this is only one step towards their greatest ambitions.
“It’s a match,” Hamon said. “We are happy to win it, of course. But that’s not the ultimate goal.” “It’s a cute little thing, and I want the girls to remember how it feels. I want them to remember how we got here, and we’re together, and we play with each other.”