LAS VEGAS (September 24, 2023)—A’ja Wilson scored 34 points to lead the Las Vegas Aces in their 97-83 WNBA Semifinal opening victory over the Dallas Wings on Sunday afternoon in Michelob ULTRA Arena. The Aces were further bolstered by 25 points from Kelsey Plum and a 19-point, 10-rebound double-double from Jackie Young. Satou Sabally scored a team-high 16 points to lead six Wings scorers in double figures.
First Quarter Highlights (Las Vegas 20, Dallas 19)
Behind 6 points apiece from Wilson and Young, the Aces took a 14-6 lead midway through the first quarter. The Wings went on an 11-2 run to go ahead 17-16 at 2:03. A Wilson put-back gave the Aces an 18-17 edge and the home team never again trailed. Wilson fished with 10 points and Young with 8. Natasha Howard and Teaira McCowan had 5 each for Dallas. The Aces made 50% of their field goal attempts, while Dallas was held to 32%. The Aces gave up 9 points on 6 turnovers, while only gaining 2 off 2 turnovers by the Wings.
Second Quarter Highlights (Las Vegas 49, Dallas 45)
Dallas still trailed by 1 just 2 minutes into the second quarter, 27-26. Six consecutive points from Wilson in a 9-1 Aces run put Las Vegas up by 9, 36-27 at 5:17. For the remainder of the half, the Aces lead see-sawed between 4 and 9 points. The Aces allowed no points from their 2 turnovers, but scored 6 off the Wings 4 in the quarter. Both teams shot well, with the Aces hitting 66.7% of their field goal attempts and the Wings netting 58.5% of theirs. Plum scored 12 points and Wilson added 8 for the Aces, while three Dallas players had 6 points apiece.
Third Quarter Highlights (Las Vegas 75, Dallas 57)
The Aces picked up their first double-digit lead of the game, 57-47, after back-to-back 3s from Plum. But Dallas crept back, 59-52. Responding with a 10-2 run (66-52), Las Vegas continued to outpace Dallas the remainder of the quarter. Wilson led all scorers in the frame with 14 points. The Aces held Dallas to 30.8% from the field, while nailing 50% of their own attempts. The Aces out-rebounded the Wings 12-5 and outscored the visitors 16-6 in the paint.
Fourth Quarter Highlights (Las Vegas 97, Dallas 83)
Dallas cut into the Aces lead to start the final period, but 3-straight 3-pointers stretched the Aces hold on the game to 86-66 with 6:09 remaining. The Aces held off Dallas through the final buzzer for the 97-83 win. Young scored 9 points in the period.
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Las Vegas outscored Dallas 46-40 points in the paint, 17-10 in transition and 14-11 on second-chance points.
Las Vegas was a perfect 13 of 13 from the free throw line, while Dallas made 12 of 18.
The Aces made 53.6 percent of their field goal attempts, while the Wings connected on 43.7 percent of theirs.
The Dallas bench outscored the Las Vegas reserves 27-4
The Aces scored 21 points off of 12 Dallas turnovers and gave up 14 points on their 16 miscues.
The Aces out-rebounded the Wings 36-29.
Wilson’s 34 points is her 4th playoff game with 30+ points, which is tied for 5th with Candace Parker for most career playoff games with 30 or more points.
Wilson, who had 38 points in Game 2 of the Fist R0und against Chicago, scored 30+ points in back-to-back playoff games for the second time in her career. She previously scored 33 points (8/31/22) and 34 points (9/4/22) against Seattle in the Semifinals in 2022.
Wilson has now scored in double figures in 26 of 31 playoff games, including each of her past 10, and has scored 20 or more points 14 times and 30 or more 4 times.
Wilson’s 15 made field goals ties the WNBA record for most made field goals in a playoff game. She is the first player in league history to accomplish this twice (September 17, 2023), and her 30 made field goals in back-to-back playoff games is a WNBA record.
Wilson’s 28.67 ppg through 3 games in 2023 ranks No. 2 all-time among WNBA single-season playoff leaders who played at least 3 postseason games in a single year (Candace Parker, 28.75, 2012).
Young recorded the first double-double of her playoff career (19 points, 10 rebounds), and her rebounds eclipsed her former playoff career best (6, 2 times, last vs Connecticut, Sept. 13, 2022).
Plum’s 25 points matched her career playoff-high, which she has accomplished twice before (last vs. Phoenix, Sept. 30, 2021). She also connected on a playoff career-high 5 threes.
Chelsea Gray scored 13 points for her fifth-straight and 29th (of 42) overall playoff game scoring in double figures.
The Aces produced the 14th perfect game from the line with 13 or more attempts in WNBA playoff history, and the second in franchise history (20-20 FTs vs Phoenix, Oct. 8, 2021).
The best-of-five series continues at home on Sept. 26 (7 pm PT on ESPN2), before moving to Dallas for 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 best-of-five Semifinal series. The Sun took Game 1 earlier today 78-63.