The Las Vegas Aces may have had some close calls against weak teams earlier in the season, but back-to-back 18-point wins against the next-two-best teams in the WNBA after them and a 15-1 record have them looking historically good.
The Aces defeated the 12-5 Connecticut Sun 102-84 Saturday afternoon at Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas after defeating the 10-4 New York Liberty 98-81 Thursday in Vegas. The Liberty are of course the other “super team” in the league, featuring Breanna Stewart, Jonquel Jones, Sabrina Ionescu, Courtney Vandersloot and Betnijah Laney. The Sun are without one of their big four in Brionna Jones for the rest of the season (Achilles), but are the only team to have defeated the Aces this season and still have MVP candidate Alyssa Thomas, who has experience leading teams to overachievement and from a whom a triple-double is now almost expected every game. Yet, A’ja Wilson, Chelsea Gray, Jackie Young, Kelsey Plum, Candace Parker and the Aces beat both these teams by 18 in the span of three days.
Plum, who was announced as an All-Star reserve before the game, was 4-of-4 from three with a game-high 25 points on Saturday. Wilson added 23 points, 13 rebounds and five assists while Candace Parker was good for 15 points, eight helpers and three steals. Thomas continued to amaze with 11 assists and also had 12 points, but managed just five rebounds, so no triple-double.
Vegas went on a 19-0 run from five seconds remaining in the second to 4:36 remaining in the third. It featured 10 points from Wilson and built a 76-48 lead. Wilson closed the second with a turnaround mid-range fade and opened the third with two free throws. After Connecticut’s Rebecca Allen traveled at the 8:52 mark of the third, Wilson drove into the paint and hit another mid-range shot at 8:31. She followed that with an inside bucket at 7:44 and later made a wide-open layup at 5:57 that simply epitomized the ease with which the Aces took over.
Also on the run, Parker made an off-hand layup, Chelsea Gray (11 points, four assists, two blocks) made a technical free throw and a three apiece came from Plum and Jackie Young (11 points, six rebounds, four helpers, two swipes). Plum’s came in transition off a Young steal.
Vegas led by at least 18 the rest of the way.
Connecticut star Tiffany Hayes was ejected without receiving two technicals. She received one tech and was ejected on the spot because she made a money motion with her fingers, jokingly implying that the refs were accepting money from the Aces. According to WNBA rules, that warrants an automatic ejection.
Vegas won the first quarter 30-22. Alysha Clark contributed nine points and five boards to the winning cause. DeWanna Bonner dropped a Sun-high 19 points. Parker was 7-of-10 from the field.