After trailing the entire game, the Las Vegas Aces (16-6) defeated the Washington Mystics (8-11), 84-83, in front of their home crowd at Michelob Ultra Arena.
Vegas scored the first basket of the game and that would be the only lead it held until guard Chelsea Gray’s game-winner with 4.6 seconds remaining.
Franchise history was made as the Aces mounted a 14-point 4th quarter comeback, their largest ever.
These two teams face off again Tuesday, Aug. 17, to complete the season series.
With 10 games left in the regular season, the Aces are looking to finish strong and take the top overall seed in the conference - which they currently share with the defending champion Seattle Storm (16-6).
It was fitting that Gray won the game for the Aces as she was the catalyst keeping her team alive throughout the game. She only scored eight points, but dished 11 assists and constantly kept teammates engaged.
Coming off of the month-long Olympic break, a feeling-out process was to be expected. What was unexpected was the 20-point deficit they faced midway through the second quarter.
League-leading scorer Tina Charles had a strong first half for Washington and finished with 20 points, as did guard Ariel Atkins.
There were many moments in this game where the Aces could have given up, but they never did. The Mystics were on their A-game and responded to every run the home team made.
Las Vegas displayed the heart of a champion by refusing to concede the victory.
Head Coach Bill Laimbeer utilized a three-big lineup in the fourth quarter featuring MVP A’ja Wilson, center Liz Cambage and forward DeArica Hamby that was undeniable.
A 13-0 run put the Aces back in striking range.
Wilson was her spectacular self, finishing with a 20-point 14-rebounds double-double. Cambage returned to form with 17 points and seven rebounds as well.
Points in the paint and free throws were a-plenty. The Aces lead the league in free throws made and rebounding and those stats paid huge dividends on Sunday.
Though beating a sub-.500 team by a point is not ideal, this was a remarkable victory nonetheless. The Mystics are only two seasons removed from a WNBA title and still carry that confidence.
The greatness of this team lies in their depth. On any given night, a starter or bench player may have the best performance and that is a winning recipe come playoff time.