But it was a remarkable, record-breaking finish to regulation time that will make this competition an all-time great event in league history.
Riquna Williams, four points down with just over 11 seconds to go, hit a huge three-pointer to put the deficit before Storm’s Tina Charles missed two free throws, allowing Aces star A’ja Wilson to pull off a layup and the goal giving aces a point advantage with less than three seconds remaining.
Then the real drama began.
Outgoing WNBA legend Sue Bird – who contributed 17 points and eight assists in 43 minutes – hit a three-pointer corner spot to put the Storm back by two with 1.8 seconds left, only for Jackie Young to make a buzzer -Beat layup to tie the game and take it into overtime.
It was the first time in WNBA history that three go-ahead or game-timing buckets were scored in the final three seconds of a game.
The Aces — led by Wilson’s 34 points and 11 rebounds and Chelsea Gray’s 29 points and 12 assists — then comfortably pulled away from a visibly drained Storm in overtime to go in a best-of-five for a WNBA Finals win Series.
“That was a damn good game,” Aces coach Becky Hammon said after the game, according to the WNBA. “I don’t know if I’ve ever taken part in something like this.
“The back and forth and the fight – big shot after big shot from both sides, really. It was just really basketball at a high level… [from] both sides.”
Bird, who announced earlier this season that she would be retiring at the end of the year, has had to rue her team’s inability to watch the game with so little left on the clock.
“There were four of us and we didn’t have much time left, and that’s really where we lost the game for me,” Bird said, per ESPN. “Letting them take the lead – they probably scored five points in three seconds?
“That’s the point for me where we really let that go. I understand the last bits will stand out because they are dramatic and exciting and I’m sure it was great TV but there were four of us.”
The Aces and Storm face off again in Game Four on Tuesday.