Palmetto, FL (July 30, 2020)—The Las Vegas Aces (1-1), fresh off of a dominant performance over the Atlanta Dream, travel to Palmetto, Florida Friday for a 10 pm ET/7 pm PT tilt against the Phoenix Mercury (0-2).
The Aces evened their record Wednesday evening with a 100-70 victory over the Dream. Two-time All-Star A’ja Wilson led five Las Vegas players in double figures with a 21-point, 11-rebound effort, while Dearica Hamby added a season-high 20 off the bench. Lindsay Allen got her second start of the year, and responded with a career-high 11 points.
Wilson has a pair of 20-10 games (20+ pts, 10+rebs) to start the 2020 campaign after posting three during the entire season a year ago. Five-time All-Star Angel McCoughtry, signed as a free agent in the offseason, is off to another stellar start after missing virtually all of 2019 with an injury, averaging 18.5 points and 7.5 rebounds. Her field goal percentage of 61.5 percent is the third highest in the league by players averaging at least 10 shots per game.
The Aces had the best defense in the WNBA a year ago, and are ranked second in Defensive Efficiency so far this season, allowing 91.7 points per 100 possessions.
The Phoenix Mercury have struggled out of the gate, particularly on the defensive end where they are allowing 102.5 points per game, and have a league-worst Defensive Efficiency Rating of 123.2.
Offensively, they are led by Bria Hartley’s 18.5 points per game, and Brittney Griner’s 15.5 points. A career 56.0-percent shooter from the field, Griner is making just 46.9 percent of her attempts in the early going, however.
Diana Taurasi, who missed most of the 2019 season with an injury, has struggled, averaging 11.0 points per game on 29.4 percent shooting from the field and 0.91 percent from long distance.
Skyler Diggins-Smith, acquired during the offseason, hasn’t been a focal point of the Mercury offense, averaging just six field goal attempts over her first two games, but she is connecting on 66.7 percent of those shots, including 5 of 8 from three-point range, and averaging 13.0 points per game.
The Aces are 37-56 all-time against the Merc, but won two of three meetings between the clubs a year ago.