MINNEAPOLIS (July 22, 2023)—A’ja Wilson scored a season-high 35 points (14-17 FGs) to power the Las Vegas Aces (21-2) past Minnesota (10-13) 98-81 on Saturday afternoon to complete a 4-game season sweep over the Lynx. The Aces reeled off 11-straight points to open the contest and never trailed en route to their 21st win of the season.
Wilson (14 rebounds) and Gray (11 points, 11 assists) posted double-doubles and Jackie Young (19 points), Kelsey Plum (16) and Alysha Clark (11) also scored in double figures for the Aces.
First Quarter Highlights (Las Vegas 23, Minnesota 18)
During their opening 11-0 run in which they received 6 points from Young, the Aces held the Lynx to 0 of 7 shooting from the field. Minnesota put up its first points at 6:17, but with 2:08 to play in the quarter the Aces were still in the driver’s seat with a 23-10 lead and looked as if they were going to run away from their hosts. The home squad had other plans, however, and closed out the quarter on an 8-0 spurt to cut the Aces lead to 5, 23-18. Young had a high of 10 points, Gray dished out 4 of the Aces 7 assists, and Diamond Miller scored 6 for the Lynx.
Second Quarter Highlights (Las Vegas 48, Minnesota 30)
The Lynx opened the second quarter with a 3 to extend their run to 11-0, threatening to take their first lead of the game. At 7:15 the Aces lead was a narrow 3 points, 29-26, but a 14-2 run gave the Aces a 43-28 advantage and shut the door on Minnesota’s comeback hopes. The Aces, who outscored the Lynx 25-12 in the 2nd, received 13 points on 5 of 6 shooting from Wilson. Miller posted 7 for the Lynx. At the half, the Aces had given up 0 points on their 5 turnovers, and secured 15 points on Minnesota’s 8 miscues.
Third Quarter Highlights (Las Vegas 78, Minnesota 55)
Minnesota came within 14 points, 67-53 at 2:50, but the Aces responded with an 11-2 run to close the period with their largest lead to that point, 78-55. The Aces, who shot a sizzling 66.7% (10-15 FGs) from the floor and 50% (3-6 3FGs) from beyond the arc in the period, were paced by Plum’s 13 points and Wilson’s 11. Napheesa Collier had 7 for the Lynx, who shot 55% (11-20 FGs) and 33.3% (1-3 3FGs) from afar.
Fourth Quarter Highlights (Las Vegas 98, Minnesota 81)
Both teams looked to their reserves in the 4th quarter, won by the Lynx 26-20. Wilson and Clark had 5 points apiece to lead the Aces and Kayla McBride scored 9 for Minnesota.
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The Aces made 52.2% of their shots from the field and 30.8% from distance, while the Lynx hit 42.7% of their field goal attempts, and 29.6 percent from beyond the arc.
The Aces outscored the Lynx 25-11 in points off turnovers, despite Minnesota committing just 2 more turnovers than the Aces (16-14).
The Lynx bench scored 26 points to the Aces reserves’ 15.
The Aces passed off for 25 assists on 36 buckets.
Las Vegas made 18 of 24 from the line while Minnesota was 9 of 10 from the charity stripe.
The Aces held Napheesa Collier to 16 points, which is 6 off of her season average of 21.9
The Aces have now scored 90+ points in 17 of their 23 games this season.
Wilson’s 82.4% (14-17 FGs) shooting from the field tied the mark for highest single-game field goal percentage for a W player attempting at least 17 field goals (Lisa Leslie, Aug. 1, 2002, 14-17 FGs).
Wilson’s 35 points marked the 9th career game with 30+ points and the first in 2023 (career high is 39).
The Aces (.913) 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.
Gray recorded her 5th double-double of the season (11 points, 11 assists) and 10th of her career.
Wilson recorded her 15th double-double of the season (35 points, 14 rebounds) and the 69th of her career (tied for 13th most in league history with Candice Dupree and Taj McWilliams-Franklin). Her career total is the most by any WNBA player since Wilson entered the league in 2018.
Clark matched her season high with 11 points.
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 25 contest at Chicago (8-13).