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Gray returns to help Aces defeat Storm

Ethan Miller / Getty Images Sport / Getty

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Jackie Young scored 32 points, A'ja Wilson added 27 and the Las Vegas Aces celebrated the return of All-Star point guard Chelsea Gray by defeating the Seattle Storm 94-83 on Wednesday night.

Gray, a five-time All-Star and 2020 Olympic gold medal winner who will head to the Paris Games next month, had seven assists, four rebounds and two blocks with one point in 15:30 minutes. Gray missed the first dozen games of the season — as well as the clincher last year when Las Vegas beat the Liberty for its second-straight championship.

“Man I missed this game so much. Never taking it for granted,” Gray said. “It’s a long journey, lots of crying, lots of sleepless nights, a lot of conversations. I’m so thankful to be back on this court.”

Kelsey Plum scored 11 points for Las Vegas (7-6), which led by double figures from the 1:53 mark of the first quarter and by as many as 20 points. Tiffany Hayes had 10 points, and Alysha Clark had 10 off the bench.

Young missed her career-high by two points and Wilson had 16 in the fourth quarter, giving her 20-straight games with at least 20 points. The Aces shot 56% (35 of 63) for the game with 25 assists on the 35 baskets.

Nneka Ogwumike had 21 points for the Storm (9-6). Ezi Magbegor had 19 with 13 rebounds, Jordan Horston added 18 and Skylar Diggins-Smith had 10. Jewell Loyd, who led the league in scoring last season at more than 24 points a game and came in averaging just less than 20, missed nine shots and was held to a single point, ending a streak of 55 games in double figures. Loyd scored one point in a loss to Las Vegas on Aug. 7, 2022.

Gray entered the game to a standing ovation with 1:41 to play in the first quarter and 20 seconds later picked up the 1,500th assist of her career when Clark hit a 3-pointer to make it 26-13.

“A lot of love from the fans,” said Gray, the ninth WNBA player to reach 1,500 assists. “They were amazing.”

It was 29-16 at the end of the quarter.

With Young pouring in 19 points, the Aces led 47-32 at the half. Ogwumike had 12 points for the Storm, who had 10 turnovers and shot 41%.

The Aces led by 19, 59-40, in the third quarter when Plum hit a 3-pointer and followed with a layup and Wilson's layup made it 61-42. Ogwumike had a 3-pointer and Magbegor converted a 3-point play inside the final two minutes and the Storm closed within 66-54 entering the fourth quarter.

The lead was at 20 when Plum fed Wilson for a layup with 4:21 to go. Seattle had a surge to get it back to 11 with 2 1/2 minutes to play but got no closer.



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