SEATTLE (July 20, 2023)—Returning to the court following the All-Star Break, the Aces (20-2) shook off a poor first half shooting performance and a second-half run by the Storm (4-17) and showed why its defense is tops in the league in a 79-63 victory on Thursday night in Seattle. Las Vegas recorded its second-lowest field goal shooting percentage of the season (.439), but its defense, which had 16 steals, helped produce 21 points off 18 Seattle turnovers and held the Storm to just 38.7 shooting from the field.
A’ja Wilson posted game-highs of 23 points and 15 rebounds and Jackie Young (22 points) and Kelsey Plum (20) also topped the 20-point mark for the Aces.
First Quarter Highlights (Las Vegas 19, Seattle 15)
The Storm started the game with a trio of 3-pointers and led 11-9 at 4:07. However, Young hit 2 of 3 from the line and Wilson followed with 6 consecutive points to give the Aces their largest lead of the quarter, 17-11 at 1:13. Wilson tallied a quarter-best 8 points and 5 rebounds and Ivana Dojkic had 6 for the Storm. The Aces shot just 33.3% from the field and 20% from 3-point range, while Seattle went 35.3% overall and 37.5% from afar.
Second Quarter Highlights (Las Vegas 39, Seattle 28)
Five different Aces scored in a 14-3 quarter-opening run that gave the Aces a 33-18 lead, their largest of the half. The Storm were unable to bring the score closer than 11 points over the last 5 minutes of the quarter and the Aces went to the locker room up 39-28. Young led with 7 points in the period, Plum had 6 and Chelsea Gray dished out 5 assists. No Storm player scored more than 4 points. The Aces shot 44.4% in the quarter to up their halftime shooting percentage to 38.9%.
Third Quarter Highlights (Las Vegas 62, Seattle 46)
The Storm opened with a pair from the line from Loyd. However, back-to-back 3s from Young, followed by a driving layup from Plum, quickly swung the pendulum back to the Aces’ side and with less than 2 minutes expired the visitors’ lead was 17 points, 47-30. Late in the quarter an Alysha Clark 3 increased the Aces lead to 60-36. From there, momentum swung to the home side and Seattle closed the quarter on a 10-2 spurt, and with 10 minutes to play the Aces lead was down to 16, 62-46. The Aces again increased their shooting percentage, hitting 50% from the field and 50% from 3-point in the 3rd stanza. Young scored 9 points and Loyd led the Storm with 7.
Fourth Quarter Highlights (Las Vegas 79, Seattle 63)
Seattle’s run to end the 3rd bridged the first 3:24 of the 4th quarter, ballooned to a 19-2 run in total, and cut the Aces lead to 62-55. Plum hit a jumper at 6:21 to end the Aces 5:52 scoring drought and get the visitors back on track. A 7-0 Aces spurt gave them some breathing room and the Aces advantage never dropped below double figures the rest of the way as they earned the 79-63 win. Plum and Wilson scored 7 apiece in the final period.
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Las Vegas held the league’s leading scorer, Jewell Loyd, to 12 points.
The Aces made 43.9% of their shots from the field and 38.9 percent from distance, while the Storm made 38.7% of their field goal attempts, and 26.9 percent from beyond the arc.
Las Vegas went 14 for 19 from the free throw line, while Seattle was 8 for 18.
The Aces gave up 12 points of 14 TOs.
The Aces were credited with 16 steals, compared to 10 from the Storm.
The Aces (.909) are on pace to record the highest winning percentage in league history. Only the 1998 Houston Comets (27-3, .900) won won at least 90% of their games.
Wilson entered the game with 299 blocked shots, picked up No. 300 in the 1st quarter and finished with 3, becoming the 24th player in the history of the league to notch 300+ blocked shots (302).
Wilson recorded her 14th double-double of the season (23 points, 15 rebounds) and the 68th of her career (tied for 15th most in league history with Erika de Souza and Natalie Williams). Her career total is the most by any WNBA player since Wilson entered the league in 2018.
Jewell Loyd entered the game averaging a league-high 25.7 ppg and was held to 12 points (3-13 FGs, 1-6 3FGs).
Loyd, Ezi Magbegor (12 points) and Jordan Horston (11) were Seattle’s leading scorers.
The Aces were again without the services of Candace Parker and Riquna Williams.
The Aces close out their current 3-game road trip with a July 22 clash at Minnesota (10-12) and a July 25 contest at Chicago (8-13).