Atlanta, GA (September 2, 2019)—With two games remaining in the regular season, the Las Vegas Aces (20-12) are in third place trying to hold off the Los Angeles Sparks (19-12) and Chicago Sky (19-13). All three teams would like to finish in the three or four spot to secure a First Round bye in the postseason. Any combination of one win by Las Vegas, or one loss by Chicago secures at least the four seed for the Aces. Las Vegas finishes out its 2019 regular season schedule on the road beginning with a Thursday, September 5 trip to Atlanta.
Las Vegas snapped a three-game losing streak Saturday with a 92-86 victory over the Sparks. The Aces trailed by as many as 13 in the game, but an 18-2 run in the fourth quarter helped Las Vegas to its 20th win of the season. Kelsey Plum scored 17 of her 20 points in the fourth quarter, including 10 during that decisive 16-point run.
A’ja Wilson recorded her third double-double of the year in the win with 24 points and 12 rebounds, and Dearica Hamby added a 12-point, 12-rebound double-double off the bench. The newly-acquired Epiphanny Prince also made her mark on the game scoring 10 points in just 13 minutes.
Las Vegas’ defense continue to be its calling card as the Aces lead the WNBA in Defensive Efficiency, Defensive Effective Field Goal Percentage, and Defensive Rebounding Percentage. Offensively, they pace the W in three-point shooting percentage, and utilize the free throw line better than any team in the league.
The Dream, who play in Los Angeles Tuesday evening, are struggling through a 7-24 campaign one year after going 23-11 and reaching the WNBA semifinals.
Last year, Atlanta boasted the top defense in the league, but this year, they rank ninth out of 12 teams. Part of that drop off is due to their defensive rebounding which ranks last in the W.
The Dream’s offense has also taken a step back, falling from ninth to last in the league. Atlanta is making a league-low 37.3 percent of its shots from the field, and 29.4 percent of its shots from long distance.
Five-time All-Star Angel McCoughtry has yet to play this season after tearing ligaments in her left knee late in the 2018 campaign. Tiffany Hayes leads the team in scoring at 14.7 points per game, but Brittney Sykes is the team’s only other double-digit scorer at 10.3 points per game.
Las Vegas is 2-0 against the Dream this season, winning 92-69 in Atlanta on June 6, and 94-90 at Mandalay Bay Events Center back on August 13.