Las vigas – Kelsey Bloom She wasn’t the same and Aja Wilson could sense that. Therefore, the twice earned MVP leveraged her cutting edge leadership skills and went the method she knew would be the most effective.
Wilson and Gray dominated all post season and all series. With a sliver of less than that, especially in a tight win in the first game. Wilson knew her direction seemed rough, but he also seemed to work in what she called a “statement game” that puts people on the know for the 5-foot-9 ranger. Bloom scored 20 points on a night of 7 of 13 with seven assists, one of Gray’s team highs, three rebounds and steals.
“Today, I saw KP, and I realized even to myself, I haven’t talked to the trash lately with KP,” Wilson said. “That’s what made me say what I was saying.”
Plum didn’t shoot until 4:30 left in Game 1 and finished with only 6 points while he was 1 of 9 overall and 1 of 7 out of a 3-point range. Her postseason clip dropped from the regular season and she had peaks and valleys in various streaks. The stark contrast is that her 3-point shot was largely absent (26.1%) after being money in the regular season (42%).
“A lot of times I’m hard on myself and I feel a little frustrated [with] “How did you perform throughout the whole qualifier,” Bloom said. “I’m glad they picked it up and decided to join the party.”
The Aces juggernaut heads east to the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, for Game 3 Thursday night. One more win would bring the franchise’s first championship and first title to Las Vegas, beating out the NHL’s Golden Knights and NFL’s Raiders, also owned by Mark Davis.
Bloom’s basket-attacking ability helped lead the Aces to a 45-37 lead in the first half and she continued to tackle them to prevent Sun from making any late pushes. It was 4 of 6 for 13 points in the first half, a late efficiency of only Wilson 7 of 9 for 18.
“You have to respect her three balls,” said aces coach Becky Hammon. “There you can attack close points every time because you don’t want to let it just shoot triples. Even though it’s been a bit far from that series, just a threat to it, you don’t want to let it roll from there.”
They were 1 of 6 out of a 3-point range in Game 2, but completed drives were more important. And they were dirty. By the end of the match, she had 12 points in a high playoff in the paint while the Potts crushed the Sun, 46-28, in their paint point major.
“There were some slips and other things, but they were mostly far from rebounding,” said Sun coach Kurt Miller. And often, not every time, but often it was a one-on-one thing. And Kelsey led the attack there. [and] He was just relentless in the paint.”
The ability of multiple Aces to go one-on-one with high success rates was highlighted by newly retired Sue Bird Earlier today on ESPN Daily. With ‘Plum Dawg’ back barking, Sun Defenses gave plenty of handling to Plum, Gray and Wilson’s corral.
“You know, shooters shoot. Just stay aggressive,” Bloom said. “I don’t think [there’s] Anything necessarily I did differently, you know, just my same routine. I eat the same. I go to bed at the same time. Sometimes the shots fall, sometimes they don’t, and for me, I feel it was an opportunity to grow for how to impact the game in other ways besides shooting the ball.”
Plum wasn’t as impressive in the points column in the playoffs, but she bounces more (from 2.7 rpg to 4.1) and makes important passes. In her third semifinal match against the Seattle Storm, a match that proved to be the turning point, she had seven of each. The only time I got close to that streak was the season opener. It also helps lock in the sun guards.
“There were things she was still doing that kept her grounded and I think that’s also growth, not just like, she’s back and she’s hitting the punches,” Gray said. “She was what we wanted her to be. We need her right there on the ground.”
Part of being there is the threat. Gray said because teams know their shot will “come back.” She only had one pointer in Game 1, but she converted a one-point lead into a four-point lead that the Sun couldn’t make out.
Bloom’s story was a story growth and rebound. She left Washington as the NCAA’s scoring leader and was drafted #1 in the 2017 WNBA Draft by the San Antonio Stars, which moved to become the Aces. She wasn’t the star everyone wanted out of the gate Earlier this seasonI spoke publicly for the first time about dealing with depression and anxiety. In 2020, she tore her Achilles and missed the season. And if the 2020 Tokyo Olympics had not been postponed by a year, she would have missed her 3×3 gold medal run.
“I feel like in years past, I’ve probably been dropping my head and going deeper into a hole,” Bloom said. “But through a lot of things I’ve been through over the years, it has taught me that I will always look back knowing that about myself, and I will continue to shoot.”
She dropped out of Season Six for Player of the Year and moved into the starting line-up averaging 20.2 points per game, second only to Breanna Stewart (21.8), in Hammon’s first season. She got redemption in Chicago after the 3-point “Brick” all-star competition to tie Maya Moore For the scoring record for the game. And her throwback “manifesto” played in what could be the last contest in Las Vegas of 2022 that may be the defining series in the series.
“The growth you’re seeing in KP is amazing,” Wilson said. “The story that she has, is crazy to even think about. She’s a strong-willed character who won’t stop until the job is done. I’m so glad she’s in our locker room because she’d be sore in the ass if she wasn’t.”