LAS VEGAS (September 26, 2023)—The Las Vegas Aces earned a 91-84 victory to improve to 2-0 over Dallas in the WNBA Semifinals behind a 30-point, 11-rebound effort from A’ja Wilson Tuesday night at home in Michelob ULTRA Arena. Wilson’s 30 points, her 3rd-straight playoff game with 30+ points, led four Aces who scored in double figures—Chelsea Gray scored 23, Kelsey Plum had 18 and Jackie Young chipped in 13. Arike Ogunbowale hit 6 of 13 from 3-point range for 24 points for the Wings.
The Aces need just 1 more win in the best-of-five Semifinals series to advance to their 3rd WNBA Finals in 4 seasons, having claimed the championship in 2022 and finished as runners-up in 2020.
First Quarter Highlights (Las Vegas 26, Dallas 18)
The Aces scored first and went up 11-6 in the first 4 minutes. With Dallas trailing 17-14, Gray hit a long-range 3 and Wilson converted on an and-1 to give the Aces their largest lead of the quarter, 23-14. Wilson scored 10 points and Gray added 9 for the home team, while Kalani Brown checked in for 6 for the Wings. The Aces netted 55.6% of their shots and their defense held the Wings to 30.4% shooting from the field.
Second Quarter Highlights (Las Vegas 44, Dallas 37)
After an initial Aces bucket put them up 28-18, the Wings brought it back to 31-24. An Aces 11-5 spurt seemed to open up the game, 42-29, with 1:40 to play before halftime. However, the Wings got back-to-back 3s from Ogunbowale in an 8-0 run before Kiah Stokes halted the Aces scoring drought for the final points of the half. The Aces shooting cooled to 41.2% in the quarter, while the Wings made 34.8% of their field goal attempts. Dallas outrebounded Las Vegas 5-2 on the offensive glass, and outscored the Aces 6-2 on second chances.
Third Quarter Highlights (Las Vegas 70, Dallas 57)
Dallas scored the first 6 points and its run expanded to 12-5 to even it up 49-all at 7:49. Plum hit her first 3 of the game and followed with 2 from the charity stripe, sparking an 11-2 run for a 60-51 Las Vegas lead with 5:08 left in the quarter. The Aces slowly increased their lead and went up 13 at the end of the period. Plum scored 11 points and Wilson added 8 for the Aces. Natasha Howard and Satou Sabally had 7 points apiece for Dallas. The Aces hit 50% of their shot attempts from the field and 50% from afar. Dallas made 42.1% of their field goal attempts and 40% from behind the arc.
Fourth Quarter Highlights (Las Vegas 91, Dallas 84)
The Aces shooting went cold in the early going (1-6 FGs), while Dallas hit 5 of their first 10 attempts in an 11-3 run over the first 3 minutes of the period, slicing the divide to 73-68. Plum netted a 3 at 6:18, followed by a Wilson jumper at 5:41 to momentarily halt the Wings momentum (78-68). With the Aces up 85-76, Dallas got 5-straight to edge to within 4, 85-81, with 1:36 to play. But Dallas missed a field goal and 2 from the line, while Wilson hit her next 4 free throw attempts to make it 89-81, and the Aces held on for the win. Ogunbowale shot 4 of 7 and scored 12 points in the final frame. The Wings outrebounded the Aces 5-1 on the offensive glass. Dallas made 43.5% of their attempts from the floor and 45.5% from 3-point range and the Aces shot 37.5% from the field and 42.9% from afar.
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Dallas outrebounded Las Vegas 21-8 on the offensive glass.
Dallas outscored Las Vegas 19-14 on 2nd chance points and 42-30 points in the paint.
Wilson hit a perfect 10 of 10 from the line to lead the Aces in making 22 of 25 from the charity stripe; the Wings made 8 of their 13 free throw attempts.
The Aces connected on 46.2% of their field goal attempts and 37.5% from distance, while the Wings were held to 37.5% overall and improved to 38.5% beyond the arc.
Wilson’s 30 points marks her 5th playoff game with 30+ points, which is tied for 3rd for most career playoff games with 30 or more points (Diana Taurasi holds the record with 8).
Wilson, who had 38 points in Game 2 of the First Round against Chicago and 34 in Game 1 in the Semifinals against Dallas, became the first player in WNBA playoff history to string together 3-straight games with 30+ points.
Wilson has now scored in double figures in 27 of 32 playoff games, including each of her past 11, and has scored 20 or more points 15 times and 30 or more 5 times.
Wilson’s 29.0 ppg through 4 games in 2023 ranks No. 1 all-time among WNBA single-season playoff leaders who played at least 3 postseason games in a single year.
Wilson’s double-double (30 points, 11 rebounds) is her 14th career playoff double-double, which is tied for 7th all-time in WNBA history.
At 5:57 in the 1st quarter Wilson scored her first 2 points of the game to become the first player in WNBA history, combining regular season and playoff games, to score 1,000 points in a single year. She now has 1,028 points in 2023.
Chelsea Gray scored 23 points for her 30th (of 43) overall playoff game scoring in double figures and 15th with 20 or more points.
Wilson becomes just the 4th player in the history of the league with at least 600 points, 300 rebounds and 70 blocked shots in playoff games (Lisa Leslie, Candace Parker, Brittney Griner).
Plum’s 4 3-point field goals made marked the 3rd time in her playoff history she’s made 4+ from beyond the arc, and the 2nd in as many games.
Plum (18 points), who has scored in double figures in 21 of 24 playoff games, scored her 400th playoff point, and now has 414 career playoff points.
Young (13 points, 4 assists) surpassed 300 career playoff points and now has 309.
Wilson’s 10 of 10 from the line is the most made free throws with no misses in the playoffs in franchise history. The previous record was 9, achieved twice by Becky Hammon and once by Liz Cambage.
The best-of-five series moves to Dallas, where the Aces can wrap up the Semifinals in Game 3 on Friday, Sept. 29 (6:30 pm PT on ESPN2). If necessary, Game 4 will be played in Dallas on Oct. 1 and Game 5 in Las Vegas on Oct. 3.
The winner of the Aces vs. Dallas Semifinal series will face the winner of the Liberty vs. Sun Semifinal series. The Sun took Game 1 on Sunday 78-63, and the Liberty evened it up with an 84-77 victory in Game 2 earlier this evening.