WNBA Playoffs — Scenes from the Phoenix Mercury vs. Las Vegas Aces win-or-go-home Game 5 matchup

The WNBA western semis has entered win-or-go-home mode. The Phoenix Mercury and Las Vegas Aces are battling with a trip to the Finals on the line. Both teams have exerted dominance throughout the series, but who will put together one more exceptional game to get to the championship round?

Being that this contest was in Las Vegas, the Michelob Arena is rocking for this high-stakes matchup.

The Aces came in ready to defend home court — but they had to show off their fashion sense first. A’ja Wilson has worn iconic jerseys of basketball players all postseason, and she decided to wear one with a personal connection for Game 5. She rocked a Dawn Staley Virginia jersey pregame, showing love to her former coach. Staley coached Wilson from 2014-2018, and they both led the South Carolina Gamecocks to a national championship in 2017.

Staley made sure to reciprocate the love back to her former player

After both teams went through warmups, it was time for the Mercury and Aces to battle it out in a win-or-go-home Game 5. WNBA Legend and Basketball Hall of Famer Tamika Catchings expressed her excitement on social media, as she’s ready to watch these two teams fight for a trip to the Finals.

The Chicago Sky — who already clinched a spot in the championship round on Wednesday, are waiting patiently for who they will face –while doing a little scouting in the process.

The game has the feeling of a playoff contest, as it was physical to start. The Mercury were led by Shey Peddy in the first, who scored seven early points. Her scoring and the physicality by the Mercury defense allowed them to get a 20-14 lead after one.

During the second, the Aces responded with some quality shooting from deep — specifically from Kelsey Plum. She drained two shots from beyond the arc in the quarter while Liz Cambage and Wilson kept things going down low.

After a wild first half, the Mercury had a slim lead going into the locker room — 44-42.

The physicality and abundance of points had everyone locked for this sensational contest.

The Aces got off to a hot start in the third — thanks to 2020 League MVP A’ja Wilson. She made a key steal on a Diana Taurasi pass, causing a clear path foul. She followed that up with an offensive rebound and put back the next offensive possession.

Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Clelin Ferrell was in the arena for the game — and he had his popcorn ready for what has been an entertaining game. His teammate Casey Hayward Jr. was also at the game with popcorn in hand. Another athlete made an appearance — former MLB player and two-time World Series champion David Justice.

The Mercury haven’t shot the three-ball well, and the Aces have taken advantage in the fast break, going on a 14-0 run in the third. Chelsea Gray and Cambage led the way, each scoring six points in the third quarter.

The game has been chippy, and it got even more tense heading into the fourth. Jackie Young and Taurasi exchanged some words when the buzzer sounded, needing to be separated by officials.

In the final frame, Taurasi started doing her usual “White Mamba” things. She scored some clutch buckets during a Mercury 10-0 run, giving them the lead early in the fourth.

The Aces responded to the Mercury’s run with the help of timely buckets from Plum and Gray. It’s safe to say that everyone watching the game didn’t want it to end, as both teams were leaving it all on the floor.

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