HomeWorldPlum's 3's Lead Aces Over Sky in the WNBA Commissioner's Cup.

Plum’s 3’s Lead Aces Over Sky in the WNBA Commissioner’s Cup.

MATT CARLSON, Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) — Kelsey Plum scored 12 of her 24 points in the first quarter as the Las Vegas Aces built an early 23-point lead, then cruised to a 93-83 win over the Chicago Sky on Tuesday night to win the second WNBA Commissioner’s Cup championship.

Plum, who won All-Star MVP in Chicago a few weeks ago, made six of his nine 3-point attempts.

“We were moving the ball really well and he turned out to be the recipient of a lot of open stares,” Plum said. “You know, I went into the game telling myself to be very patient and let it come, but it came too early.”

Chelsea Gray scored 19 points, including a pivotal nine in the third quarter, and earned the game’s Most Valuable Player award.

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“My team played today. We hope,” Gray said. “I know I’m the MVP right now, this should be for them right there. Super proud of this team and everything we achieved.”

A’ja Wilson had 17 points, 17 rebounds and six blocks as the Aces dominated early and then fended off several runs from Sky in the second half. Jackie Young had 18 points.

Candace Parker led Chicago with 20 points and Kahleah Copper and Emma Meesseman added 18 apiece. Defending WNBA champion Chicago closed within seven points late in the third quarter but lost a second straight game for the first time this season.

The Aces outscored the Sky 33-14 in the first quarter. That was the difference in this one.

“You know, from the beginning, I feel like we were very passive and we give them credit,” Parker said. “They came out and threw the first punch. That’s not the way we wanted to go out there and play.”

Sky manager James Wade added: “I think Vegas are too good a team to back in that way.”

Chicago and Las Vegas finished as the top teams in the Eastern and Western Conferences with 9-1 records in the Commissioner’s Cup season tournament. The Sky (21-7) and Aces (20-8) are also 1-2 in the WNBA regular season standings and have assured playoff spots.

Seattle won the inaugural Commissioner’s Cup last year. The championship game doesn’t count toward regular-season standings, but coaches and players from both teams said it’s a springboard for their long stretches and a “measuring stick” against another top team with a lot at stake.

Aces members earned over $30,000 per player, while Sky members earned $10,000 per player. Gray won an additional $5,000 as Championship Game MVP

New this season, the WNBA is making $165,000 in donations to charities and civic organizations during this year’s series. Teams selected an organization in their area, with each group receiving $2,000 for a win and $500 for a loss in the tournament.

The Commissioner’s Cup winner’s organization will get a total of $28,500 and the championship game loser’s bracket will receive $23,500.

The Aces selected the ACLU of Nevada and are one of three WNBA teams to partner with a local ACLU chapter. Heaven chose My Block, My Neighborhood. My City, a Chicago community-based nonprofit organization that reaches out to disadvantaged youth through educational programs and “empowers communities,” primarily on the city’s south and west sides.

The Aces swept Sky early, racing ahead 13-0 in just 1:55 and building a 33-14 lead after one quarter and extending the lead to 23 points early in the second.

The Sky mounted a run late in the second quarter to close within 12 points, and a crowd of 8,922 at Wintrust Arena was on its feet. Still, Las Vegas leads 48-34 at the half on 52.6% shooting in a largely dominant game.

The Sky adjusted their coverage in the third quarter and closed the gap to 7 points before Plum scored a 3 in the final seconds to make it 70-60.

The Sky and Aces went 1-1 against each other in the regular league spot. Chicago’s 104-95 victory came June 21 in Las Vegas when it rallied from a 28-point deficit for the biggest comeback in WNBA history.

Aces trainer Becky Hammon didn’t want a repeat.

“(I told them) stay solid defensively, handle the pressure and keep playing defense,” Hammon said. ”

Hammon joined one of his young sons, Cayden, on the dais at the postgame news conference. Asked by a reporter if it was past his bedtime, Cayden replied, “No, I’m going to bed later.”

More AP women’s basketball: and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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