LAS VEGAS (September 17, 2023)—The Las Vegas Aces are headed to the WNBA Semifinals for the 5th consecutive season thanks to a franchise playoff-high of 38 points from A’ja Wilson in a 92-70 victory over the Chicago Sky Sunday afternoon in Game 2 of the First Round of the 2023 Playoffs. Wilson led 4 Aces in double figures, and also collected 16 rebounds, 4 blocked shots and 3 steals in less than 30 minutes of action as the Aces never trailed. Kahleah Copper scored 25 to lead the Sky in their final game of the year.
First Quarter Highlights (Las Vegas 23, Chicago 14)
With the score knotted at 4 all, Jackie Young scored 7 points in a 9-0 Aces spurt that put the home side up 13-4. The Aces netted 44.4% of their field goal attempts, while their defense held the Sky to 29.4% from the field. Las Vegas dominated Chicago 12-2 points in the paint, 4-0 on second chances and 9-0 on the fast break. Wilson scored 10 points on a perfect 4 of 4 from the field and 2 of 2 from the line, while Marina Mabrey and Courtney Williams chipped in 5 apiece for Chicago.
Second Quarter Highlights (Las Vegas 44, Chicago 29)
Two quick buckets from Chicago narrowed the gap to 5, 23-18, in the first minute of the period. The Aces responded with 6-straight in an eventual 17-7 run to go up 40-25 at 1:09. The Aces hit 36.8% of their field goal attempts, while Chicago connected on 43.8% of theirs in the quarter. The Aces received 9 points and 5 rebounds from Wilson in the second frame, and owned a 23-14 advantage on the glass through the first half. Copper topped Chicago’s scoring with 7 points in the quarter.
Third Quarter Highlights (Las Vegas 69, Chicago 45)
The Aces led by 17 or more points throughout the period, eventually going up by as many as 28, outscoring the Sky 25-16 in the quarter. Wilson scored 14 points on 6 of 9 from the field and Copper had 8 for Chicago. The Aces hit 47.8% from the field, while its defense held Chicago to 30.8%.
Fourth Quarter Highlights (Las Vegas 92, Chicago 70)
The Sky took a final run at the Aces in the last stanza, closing to within 9 points, 71-62, with 6:26 to play. The Aces, however, scored the game’s next 14 to put an end to Chicago’s comeback hopes. Copper and Dana Evans scored 10 points each to help the Sky outscore the Aces 25-23 in the quarter. No Aces player had more than 5 points. The Sky outshot the Aces 47.4% to 35.3% from the field.
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Las Vegas outscored Chicago 42-24 points in the paint, 16-9 on the fast break and 15-6 on second chances.
Las Vegas went 21 of 23 from the free throw line, while Chicago made 13 of 15.
The Aces made 41.6 percent of their field goal attempts, while the Sky made 38.5 percent of theirs.
Chicago’s bench outscored the Las Vegas reserves 24-18, 22 of which came from Evans.
The Aces scored 15 points off of 18 Chicago turnovers and gave up 9 points on their 10 miscues.
The Aces outrebounded the Sky 46-32, including 15-7 on the offensive glass.
Wilson established franchise playoff single-game records for points (38) and field goals made (15). Previous record holders were Becky Hammon with 35 points on Sept. 28, 2008, in the Western Conference Finals vs Los Angeles and Wilson’s 14 field goals on Sept. 24, 2022, in the semifinals against Seattle. The WNBA single-game playoff record is 42 points (Angel McCoughtry, Sept. 7, 2010).
Chelsea Gray dished out 9 assists to up her career playoff total with the franchise to 118, surpassing the franchise record formerly held by Hammon (114).
Wilson has now scored in double figures in 25 of 30 playoff games, including each of her past 9, and has scored 20 or more points 13 times and 30 or more 3 times.
Wilson has grabbed double-digit rebounds 15 times (16 rebounds) in 30 playoff games and her 16 rebounds ranks third in franchise playoff history.
Wilson notched her 13th playoff double-double, which ranks tied for 8th (Cheryl Ford) among all-time W playoff double-double leaders.
Stokes’s 10 rebounds marked her sixth double-digit rebounding effort in her 25 playoff contests, including both playoff games in 2023. She is averaging 12.5 rpg in the 2023 postseason
Chelsea Gray scored 9 points to reach her 600th playoff point, and now has 604 over 41 games.
Clark’s 14 points are tied for her 3rd-highest playoff scoring output (21 points vs Las Vegas, Oct. 4, 2020) and marked the 11th time in 24 playoff games she’s scored in double figures.
The Sky scored 20 or more points 2 quarters (21 points, Game 1, Q2; 25 points, Q4, Game 2).
The Aces outscored the Sky 86-52 in the paint, 22-14 in second chance points and 43-24 on the fast break.
The Aces shot 42.4% from the field, including 32.6% from 3-point range, while limiting the Sky to 35.8% overall and 27.9% from distance.
The Aces will host the winner of the Dallas (#4) vs. Atlanta (#5) series beginning Sunday, Sept. 24 at Michelob ULTRA Arena. Tip is slated for 2 pm PT on ESPN2). Game 2 of the best-3-out-of-5 series will also be on the Aces home court, Tuesday, Sept. 26 at 7 pm.