When it mattered most, the WNBA MVP candidates took a backseat to their high-scoring teammates.
Jewell Loyd poured in a personal best 38 points and Breanna Stewart added 21 points and 15 rebounds, but Seattle’s dynamic duo weren’t enough to combat performances from Chelsea Gray and A’ja Wilson, who led the Las Vegas Aces to a thrilling 109-100 victory on Sunday to clinch the No. 1 seed and homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs.
Gray tallied a career-high 33 points, including 16 in the fourth quarter, and nine assists while Wilson had 25 points and 10 rebounds for Las Vegas, which finished the regular season at 26-10.
Seattle (22-14) is the No. 4 seed and will host No. 5 seed Washington Mystics in the first round of playoffs. Game 1 in the best-of-three series is Thursday at Climate Pledge Arena.
In front of a sold-out crowd of 10,015 at Michelob Ultra Arena that included NBA stars Chris Paul, Devin Booker, Trae Young and Kyle Lowry, the Storm tied a WNBA record with 18 three-pointers.
The Storm was down by 11 points in the first quarter and trailed 29-19 before taking control of the game with a 15-point run. Epiphanny Prince capped the spurt with a three-pointer for a 34-29 lead early in the second quarter.
Seattle went up 12 points (48-36) when Las Vegas regained momentum and cut its deficit to 51-50 at halftime.
Neither team led by more than 10 points in the second half.
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