LAS VEGAS (Aug. 19, 2023)—Despite a 25-point effort from A’ja Wilson, the Las Vegas Aces (28-4) were unable to overcome poor shooting and the Los Angeles Sparks (13-18) handed the Aces their fourth loss of the season, 78-72. Wrapping up a 5-game home stand over the past 9 days, the Aces connected on just 36 percent (27-75 FGs) of their field goals in the team’s 2nd-lowest shooting performance this year. Layshia Clarendon scored a team-high 22 points for the Sparks.
First Quarter Highlights (Los Angeles 24, Las Vegas 15)
Wilson put the Aces on the board first and scored the team’s first 10 points of the game, but a 14-0 Los Angeles run put Las Vegas in a 10-point hole. The Sparks out-shot the Aces 66.7 percent (10-15 FGs) to 35.3 percent (6-17 FGs) from the field and 80 percent (4-5 3FGs) to 16.7 percent (1-6 3FGs) from afar. The Aces gave up 8 points on 6 turnovers and scored 4 points from LA’s 6. Wilson made 5 of 10 and finished with 10 points, while Jordin Canada hit a trio of long balls and scored 11 for the Sparks.
Second Quarter Highlights (Los Angeles 42, Las Vegas 36)
The Sparks converted another steal into a bucket to go up 26-15 early in the second. The Aces responded with a 12-2 run and with less than 3 minutes expired on the clock, the visitors’ double-digit advantage was sliced to one, 28-27. The Aces knotted the score at 34-all on a Young steal and layup at 3:10. Plum sank a pair from the line to put the Aces back on top, but the Sparks countered with the first half’s final 8 points for the 42-36 halftime lead. The Aces shooting remained cold as they made just 30 percent (6-20 FGs) from the field, but upped their 3-point shooting to 38.5 percent (5-13 3FGs). The Sparks, who owned the paint 14 points to 2, sank 43.8 percent (7-16 FGs) from the field and did not attempt a single 3. Plum scored a high of 8 for the Aces and Clarendon matched that for the Sparks.
Third Quarter Highlights (Los Angeles 57, Las Vegas 55)
Los Angeles extended its lead to 50-40 and was still up by 9 with 4:08 remaining, but the Aces battled back with an 11-2 run to close the period. The Aces gave up 2 points on 2 turnovers and capitalized for 7 points on LA’s 7 miscues. The Aces outscored the Sparks 8-2 in the paint. Wilson scored 8 for the Aces and Clarendon tossed in 8 for LA.
Fourth Quarter Highlights (Los Angeles 78, Las Vegas 72)
The Sparks still held a 2-point lead early, 61-59, but an 8-0 run by the visitors again stretched the gap to double figures (69-59) midway through the final period. The Aces outscored the Sparks 11-3 over the next 3-plus minutes, to make it a 2-point game, but they only scored 2 points down the stretch, coming up short in their comeback attempts. The Aces made 40 percent (8-20 FGs) of their field goals in the final stanza, but LA netted 58.3 percent (7-12 FGs) of theirs. Wilson led the Aces with 5 points while Nneka Ogwumike finished with 9 points.
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Los Angeles made 52.8 percent of their shots from the field while Las Vegas made 36.0 percent of theirs.
LA outscored the Aces 42-36 in the paint and 18-9 on fast break points.
Las Vegas outscored the Sparks 15-2 in second-chance points.
The Aces grabbed 13 offensive rebounds to 2 for LA.
The Sparks committed 25 turnovers which Las Vegas flipped into 20 points, while the Aces had 15 miscues which LA turned into 16 points.
Los Angeles went 16 for 17 from the free throw line while the Aces went 10 for 11.
A’ja Wilson topped the 20-point mark for a WNBA-leading 23rd time this season. It was also the 97th 20+ point game of her career which ties her with Skylar Diggins-Smith for 19th in the WNBA’s career list.
Los Angeles hadn’t beaten the Aces in the last 13 meetings between the clubs, which was the longest such streak in the league heading into the day.
The Aces broke their Las Vegas-era attendance record, welcoming 10,348 fans into the building for Alumni Day.
Los Angeles held Las Vegas below 40 percent shooting (.360) from the field for just the second time this season (.329 at New York on August 6).
Las Vegas grabbed a season-high 13 offensive rebounds.
The Aces 72 points are the second fewest they have scored in a game this season (61 vs. New York on August 6).
Las Vegas hits the road for the next 4 games beginning with a Tuesday, August 22, visit to Atlanta.