LAS VEGAS (June 29, 2022)—Las Vegas got a 17-points, 16-rebound double-double from A’ja Wilson, and a career-high 11 points off the bench from Iliana Rupert, but it wasn’t enough as the Aces fell on the road, 88-78, to the Seattle Storm. It was the first Commissioner’s Cup loss for Las Vegas who are now 14-5 overall and 8-1 in Cup competition.
First Quarter (Las Vegas 27, Seattle 23)
Neither team led by more than 5 points. There were 2 ties and 6 lead changes in the period. Sue Bird led the Storm going perfect from the floor (3 for 3, FGs, 2 for 2 3Gs, 8 points). Iliana Rupert scored a career-high 9 points off the bench in the period to lead the Aces.
Second Quarter (Las Vegas 47, Seattle 44)
Seattle scored the first 5 points of the period to re-take the lead, but the Aces countered with a 7-0 run of their own and never trailed through the remainder of the quarter. A’ja Wilson finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds in the half.
Third Quarter (Seattle 64, Las Vegas 62)
The Storm scored the first 13 points after the intermission to go up by 11, 58-47. The Aces didn’t score until 5:13 remaining in the quarter on a Jackie Young three-pointer. Las Vegas countered by going on a 13-2 run to tie the score at 60.
Fourth Quarter (Seattle 88, Las Vegas 78)
Las Vegas led 72-69 with 6:36 to go when Seattle went on a 10-0 run to effectively end the game. Jewell Loyd scored 11 points in the quarter, and Breanna Stewart added 8.
It has been 838 days since Breonna Taylor was murdered.
The Storm made 44.3 percent of their shots compared to 39.7 percent for the Aces.
Seattle made 14 of 29 shots from long distance, while the Aces made 9 of 24.
Las Vegas turned the ball over a season-high 20 times, and the Storm flipped them into 23 points. Seattle committed 13 miscues which the Aces turned into 10 points.
The Aces outscored the Storm 13-0 in second chance points
Seattle outscored Las Vegas 13-5 in fast break points
The Aces 14-5 start is one back of the best 19-game start in franchise history (2020).
Kelsey Plum scored in double figures for the 26th straight game and the 83rd time in her career (16 points). Plum also connected on 3 three-pointers, making it 26 straight games in which she has connected on at least one from long distance—the longest active streak in the league.
A’ja Wilson scored in double figures for the 17th time this season and the 125th time in her career (17 points). She added a career-high tying 16 rebounds for her league-leading 11th double-double of the season, and the 48th of her career. That is the second most double-doubles since Wilson came into the league (Sylvia Fowles, 60).
Jackie Young scored in double figures for the 15th time this season and the 56th of her career (13 points). She added a season-high 8 rebounds.
Chelsea Gray returned to the lineup after missing one game for personal reasons. She scored in double figures for the 15th time this season and the 152nd time in her career (10 points).
Iliana Rupert scored a career-high 11 points, 9 of which came in the first period in just 4 minutes and 30 seconds of action.
The Aces remain on the road, traveling to Minnesota for a pair of games on Friday, July 1 at 5 pm PT and Monday, July 3 at 4 pm PT.
COMMISSIONER’S CUP REPERCUSSIONS & RAMIFICATIONS
The Aces are 8-1 and the Chicago Sky are 9-1 in Cup play. Both have already sewn up the Western and Eastern Conference spots respectively in the Commissioner’s Cup Championship Game. Still at stake is which team will host the Championship Game on July 26.
A Las Vegas loss to Minnesota on Friday would drop them to 8-2, and the Sky would host the Championship by virtue of their better record in Cup play.
A Las Vegas win over Minnesota on Friday improves them to 9-1 and into a tie with Chicago. The first tiebreaker is head-to-head competition, but the teams split their two meetings so far on the year.
The second tiebreaker is overall winning percentage by July 7. Both teams are 14-5 at the moment. The Aces have three games remaining on their schedule before the All-Star Break (2 against Minnesota, and 1 against New York. Chicago has three as well (Phoenix, Minnesota and Indiana).
The third tiebreaker is cumulative point differential in Cup games. Chicago is currently a + 82, while Las Vegas is +96.
The fourth tiebreaker is a coin flip.
Las Vegas heads out on an 11-day, 5-game road trip on July 28. If Chicago hosts the Cup Championship, that extends the Aces’ road trip to a 14-day, 6-game monstrosity.