GAME PREVIEW: Aces Title Defense Begins Wednesday with First Round, Best-of-Three Series Against the Sky

LAS VEGAS (Sept. 12, 2023)—After securing the No. 1 seed heading into the playoffs, the next step for the Las Vegas Aces in defending their 2022 championship run begins Wednesday night against the No. 8 Chicago Sky at T-Mobile Arena (7 pm PT on ESPN).

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The best-of-three series against the 2021 WNBA champs continues on Sunday, Sept. 15, at Michelob ULTRA Arena (12 pm PT on ABC) and, if necessary, Game 3 will be played in Chicago on Tuesday, Sept. 19.

They Aces were victorious in all 3 outings against the Sky this season, extending their winning streak over Chicago to 4 games.

Led by 21 points from A’ja Wilson, the Aces earned a 93-80 win at home on June 11. Las Vegas connected on 58.5% 38-65 FGs) from the field, which was the best shooting percentage of any Sky opponent this year. It also is the 4th-best single-game shooting percentage in the league in 2023.

The Aces picked up a 107-95 win in Chicago on July 25 behind Kelsey Plum’s 27 points. The 107 points scored by the Aces were the most any team scored against the Sky this season, and that game also featured the fewest opponent turnovers (4) in a Sky game this year.

In their final meeting, Jackie Young led Las Vegas with 24 points in a 94-87 victory in Chicago on August 24. The Aces had their top free throw shooting night of 2023, connecting on a perfect 18 of 18. It also the only game in 2023 in which Chicago did not register a blocked shot.

Wednesday’s game marks the second postseason meeting between Las Vegas and Chicago. The teams previously met in the first round of the 2019 Playoffs. In a game with 20 lead changes and 8 knotted scores, Chicago held a 92-90 edge when Dearica Hamby stole the ball with 7.2 seconds remaining and drained a 25’ 3-pointer, now known simply as “The Heave.” Chicago was unable to score in the waning seconds and the Aces advanced to the semifinals.

Four Aces remain from that 2019 playoff game—Sydney Colson, Plum, Wilson and Young—while Kahleah Copper is the only player remaining from Chicago’s roster.