Chelsea Gray puts Aces back in win column in 2024 debut

The Las Vegas Aces got Chelsea Gray back on Wednesday. On a related note, the Aces started looking like a championship-caliber team on Wednesday.

After missing the first 12 games of the season with a foot injury, Gray came off the bench and helped the Aces notch a 94-83 win over the Seattle Storm. Aces head coach Becky Hammon brought her off the bench, leading to a standing ovation as she checked in for the first time in 2024.

Mere seconds later, Gray found Alysha Clark at the perimeter for the 1,500th assist of her career.

The assists got only better from there.

Gray was playing on a minutes limit and posted one point on 0-of-2 shooting, seven assists, four rebounds and two blocks for the game. It wasn't the loudest debut, but it had to feel good for an Aces team that entered Wednesday on a slide with five losses in their past seven games.

Meanwhile, Jackie Young led all scorers with 32 points while A'ja Wilson contributed 27 points, nine rebounds, four steals and three assists.

After going 34-6 last season and winning a championship, the Aces matched that loss total in only 12 games. It was bad enough that Wilson started tearing up after the game while discussing her accountability with the team.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JUNE 19: Chelsea Gray #12 of the Las Vegas Aces brings the ball up the court against the Seattle Storm in the first quarter of their game at Michelob ULTRA Arena on June 19, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Chelsea Gray is still working her way back to full strength, but the Aces are glad to have her back. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Gray's absence wasn't the entire reason for those struggles, but her return was the clearest fix available for Las Vegas. The Storm, who entered the game at 9-5, are definitely a quality win, and they'll get a chance for an even bigger one Friday against the 13-1 Connecticut Sun.