WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 26, 2023)—Defense was the name of the game Saturday evening as the Washington Mystics held the Las Vegas Aces (30-5) below 70 points for just the 2nd time this season in a 78-62 victory. The Mystics (16-18) also held the Aces (30-5) to a season-low 30.8-percent shooting from the field in the win. The result inched Washington a half game ahead of the Los Angeles Sparks and into 7th place in the WNBA standings, while Las Vegas is now 2.5 games ahead of New York in the race for the No. 1 seed in the postseason following the Liberty’s win over the Lynx this evening.
First Quarter Highlights (Washington 19, Las Vegas 17)
The Mystics scored the first 4 points of the game, and 13 of the first 15. Washington’s defense held Las Vegas to 1 of 5 shooting during that opening stretch, while Elena Delle Donne (6 points) and Ariel Atkins (5) paced the Mystics offense. A 6-0 Aces run from 5:45 to 4:41 closed the gap to 5, and a 7-0 Las Vegas run late in the period tied the score at 17. The Mystics forced Las Vegas into 6 turnovers in the period. A’ja Wilson finished with a quarter-high 8 points.
Second Quarter Highlights (Las Vegas 30, Washington 27)
Neither team could find the bottom of the net for the first 2 minutes an 42 seconds of the 2nd, as they combined to miss 8 shots and commit 4 turnovers. Jackie Young’s driving layup with 7:18 on the clock ended the drought, and Las Vegas took its first lead of the day on Young’s subsequent free throw to complete the old fashioned 3-point play. There were 4 more lead changes and 2 ties throughout the period as both offenses continued to struggle. Las Vegas went 3 for 14 with 7 turnovers in the quarter, while Washington was 3 for 16 with 4 miscues. The Aces outscored the Mystics 13-8 in the period thanks mostly to their efforts at the free throw line where they made 5 of 5 shots to Washington’s 2 for 4. Las Vegas also hit the only two 3-pointers in the quarter.
Third Quarter Highlights (Washington 52, Las Vegas 48)
Neither team led by more than 5 points in the quarter, as defense continued to dominate. There were 4 ties and 5 lead changes over the period but the Mystics scored 9 of the final 11 points to take the lead into the final stanza. Washington made 50.0 percent of its shots (9 of 18), while Las Vegas went 5 for 17 from the floor (.294). The Mystics also ended their drought from distance making 4 of 8 from beyond the arc. Atkins led Washington with 9 points, while Kelsey Plum kept the Aces in the game by scoring 10.
Fourth Quarter Highlights (Washington 78, Las Vegas 62)
The evening’s result still hung in the balance with 6:17 to go and the Mystics clinging to a 5-point lead, 57-52. A 6-0 Washington run put the Mystics up by double figures, and the home side closed out the period on a 10-2 run for the final 16-point margin of victory. The Aces were limited to 27.8 percent from the field, while the Mystics connected on 55.0 percent of their shots. Washington also scored 7 points off of 3 Las Vegas turnovers. Delle Donne led all scorers in the quarter, making all 3 of her shots from the field and her lone free throw attempt for 9 points.
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Las Vegas made a season-low 30.8 percent of its field goal attempts (20-65 FGs) while the Mystics made 40.0 percent of its shots (28-70 FGs).
Washington outscored Las Vegas 30-14 in the paint, 6-0 second chance points, and 6-0 in fast break points.
Washington forced Las Vegas into 19 turnovers which they flipped into 22 points, while the Aces caused the Mystics to make 10 miscues which they turned into 7 points.
Plum scored 20 or more points for the third-straight game (21 points). She also made at least 2 3-pointers for the 11th straight game, which is the longest such streak in the league, and 2 games back of her franchise record of 13.
A’ja Wilson recorded her 20th double-double of the season (14 points, 11 rebounds) which is the 2nd most in the WNBA this season (Alyssa Thomas, 24, Connecticut Sun). It is also the 74th double-double of her career which are the 12th most in WNBA history, one back of Chamique Holdsclaw (75) and two back of Lauren Jackson (76)
Las Vegas had only been held under 40 percent shooting from the field on 2 occasions prior to today—32.9 percent vs. New York on August 6, and 36.0 percent vs. Los Angeles on August 19.
The Aces have been held under 70 points on 1 other occasion this season—August 6 vs. New York (61).
Las Vegas 19 turnovers are tied for the second most they have committed this year.
The Aces tied their low for assists on the season with 14, while the Mystics had 22.
The Aces close out their 4-game road swing Monday, with a 4 pm PT tip against the New York Liberty on ESPN2