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A'ja Wilson, Chelsea Gray Lead Aces Past Sun in Game 1 of 2022 WNBA Finals

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 11, 2022

David Becker/NBAE via Getty Images

The Las Vegas Aces survived a tough challenge from the Connecticut Sun in Game 1 of the 2022 WNBA Finals, earning a 67-64 win Sunday at Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas.

A'ja Wilson and Chelsea Gray led the way for the Aces. Wilson dropped a double-double, scoring 24 points and collecting 11 rebounds. Gray chipped in with 11 points and provided a lifeline for a Las Vegas offense that shot 39.7 percent from the floor.

WNBA @WNBA

The coldest 12's out 🥶<a href="https://twitter.com/cgray209?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@cgray209</a> 🤝 <a href="https://twitter.com/JaMorant?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@JaMorant</a> <br><br>📺 <a href="https://twitter.com/ABC?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ABC</a> <a href="https://t.co/qX9aIgkeUA">pic.twitter.com/qX9aIgkeUA</a>

DeWanna Bonner had an opportunity to tie the game in the final seconds but watched her three-point attempt hit the front rim.

In the first two rounds, the Aces simply overwhelmed the Phoenix Mercury and Seattle Storm. Per WNBA.com, they led all teams in postseason offensive rating (114.7) and true shooting percentage (61.5) entering Sunday.

But stout defense has been a hallmark of the Sun under head coach Curt Miller. Connecticut succeeded in stifling Las Vegas and slowing down the pace of Game 1.

Still, it wasn't enough to stop the individual brilliance of Gray and the post presence of Wilson.

For Gray, Game 1 continued one of the hottest-shooting postseasons ever in the WNBA.

Mark Schindler @MG_Schindler

If Chelsea Gray gets the ball at the top of the key with a spread floor, you may as well just cash that check<br><br>Feel like she hasn't missed back to back shots in a month and a half

Rachel Galligan @RachGall

Imagine the feeling of trying to defend Chelsea Gray when they go 1-4 low ISO…

Alexa Philippou @alexaphilippou

Per <a href="https://twitter.com/ESPNStatsInfo?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ESPNStatsInfo</a>: Chelsea Gray is 7-9 on contested FG, 0-2 on uncontested FG, because of course she is

Matt Ellentuck @mellentuck

i dare you to tell me how to guard chelsea gray

Kevin Pelton @kpeltonWBB

It's weird they keep playing this Chelsea Gray movie and the ending never changes.

Wilson, meanwhile, accepted her MVP trophy before the game and showed why she collected the league's highest individual honor.

ESPN @espn

A'JA WILSON COMES UP BIG WITH A BLOCK AND A BUCKET 😤 <a href="https://t.co/kcXjGm3ry6">pic.twitter.com/kcXjGm3ry6</a>

Tom Petrini @RealTomPetrini

A'ja Wilson is an MVP in every sense, and Kelsey Plum plays with so much grit and tenacity.<br><br>Such beautiful basketball to watch.

Sabreena Merchant @sabreenajm

A'ja's already outscored her game 1 outputs against Phx and Seattle, this is M'VP stuff

Basketball Reference @bball_ref

This is A'ja Wilson's 11th career playoff game with at least 20 points, the 6th most by a player in their first 5 seasons.<a href="https://twitter.com/LVAces?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@LVAces</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WNBAFinals?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WNBAFinals</a> <a href="https://t.co/KKDqHbyHTG">pic.twitter.com/KKDqHbyHTG</a>

Chris Williamson @CWilliamson44

A’ja Wilson will not be denied!!! She wants this finals ring so badly!! Dominating the game on all ends on the floor block city!

The Sun have time to right the ship in the best-of-five series. The trouble for Miller and his staff is that so much went right Sunday, but Connecticut is nevertheless staring at an 0-1 deficit.

Kelsey Plum shot 1-of-9 from the field and 1-of-7 from long range. Gray had three turnovers. Las Vegas as a team recorded just eight assists. The Sun could be in serious trouble if the No. 1 seed starts resembling the best and most lethal team in the WNBA again.

The Aces and Sun will return to the court Tuesday for Game 2.

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