GAME PREVIEW: Aces Begin Championship Defense at Seattle, Saturday at 12 pm PT on ABC

Seattle, WA (May 19, 2023) – The Las Vegas Aces (0-0) begin defense of their 2022 title Saturday against the Seattle Storm (0-0) as they look to become the first team to repeat as WNBA champions in more than two decades. The game is being broadcast nationally on ABC, with tip scheduled for 12 pm PT.

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Today’s game is the season opener for both teams. It also marks the first game for both teams in the Commissioner’s Cup, which the Aces also won last season..

Only two franchises in league history have won back-to-back championships—the Houston Comets earned the league’s first four titles (1997-2000), and the Los Angeles Sparks won championships in 2001 and 2002.

The rosters for both teams look different from those that squared off against one another in the 2022 WNBA Semifinals. The Aces, who won that playoff series three games to one, added two-time MVP and two-time WNBA Champion Candace Parker, two-time WNBA Champion Alysha Clark, and four-time WNBL Champion Cayla George via free agency.

By way of contrast, the Storm lost four-time WNBA Champion Sue Bird to retirement, and two-time MVP Breanna Stewart to the New York Liberty via free agency. Guard Jewell Loyd returns for her ninth season in Seattle, and 22-year-old center Ezi Magbegor is back for her third season in green and gold.

The Aces are 40-43 all-time against the Storm in the regular season, and have won three-straight games, including playoffs, on the road in the series.

Last time out: Las Vegas defeated Seattle 97-92 at Climate Pledge Arena on Sept. 6, 2023, to clinch the best-of-five 2022 WNBA Semifinals series in four games. Chelsea Gray became the first player in WNBA history to score 30 or more points and hand out 10 or more assists in a playoff game (31 and 10), and A’ja Wilson added a 23-point, 13-rebound double-double in the win. The Aces had to overcome a 42-point effort by Stewart and 29 points from Loyd to advance to the Finals for the second time in three seasons.