LAS VEGAS (September 10, 2023)—A’ja Wilson scored 36 points and Kelsey Plum had 30 to propel the Aces to a league-record 34th win in a 100-85 victory over the Phoenix Mercury (9-31) Sunday. Playing in front of a franchise-record crowd of 17,406 fans at T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas also received 21 points and 8 assists from Chelsea Gray. The Mercury were paced by Moriah Jefferson (22 points) and Brittney Griner (21 points).
Earlier in the day, the Aces clinched the top seed in the 2023 WNBA Playoffs thanks to the Washington Mystics 90-88 win over the second place New York Liberty (32-8).
First Quarter Highlights (Las Vegas 28, Phoenix 23)
The Aces led early, 18-11, but the Mercury drained a pair of 3s in an 8-0 spurt to move in front 19-18 with 3:13 to go. With the Aces trailing 23-22, Gray swished in back-to-back 3s in the final 30 seconds, giving the home side the 5-point lead to close the first 10 minutes of play. The Aces never trailed again. Wilson led all scorers with 10 points, Gray had 8 and Plum added 7. Jefferson scored 7 for the Mercury, who hit 58.8% of their shots, compared to the Aces’ 50%. The Mercury also made 42.9% from 3-point and the Aces made 40%. The Aces outscored the Mercury 12-6 in the paint, and went 4 of 5 from the free throw line while the Mercury failed to visit the charity stripe.
Second Quarter Highlights (Las Vegas 53, Phoenix 41)
Las Vegas’ lead vacillated between 2 and 8 points for most of the quarter, but the Aces poured in 10-straight over the final 2 and a half minutes to snare a 53-41 halftime lead. Wilson, who had 8 of the Aces final 10 points of the period, scored 12 in all. The Aces connected on 52.6% of their attempts from the field, while the Mercury cooled to 42.1% of theirs. The Aces also shot 8 of 10 from the line in the first half while the Mercury went 1 of 1.
Third Quarter Highlights (Las Vegas 83, Phoenix 59)
The Mercury scored 8 of the first 10 points coming out of the locker room to slice the Las Vegas advantage to 6. However, Plum sandwiched a pair of 3s around a Gray 3, upping the score to 64-49. The Aces led by at least double digits for the remainder of the afternoon. In outscoring the Mercury 30-18 in the period, the Aces netted 73.3% (11-15 FGs) from the field and 66.7% (6-9 3FGs) from afar, while holding the Mercury to 35.3% (6-17 FGs) overall and 40% (4-19 3FGs) from 3-point range. The Aces outscored the Mercury 10-0 in points in the paint.
Fourth Quarter Highlights (Las Vegas 100, Phoenix 85)
The Aces went to their bench for much of the quarter, and their lead never dropped below 12 points in the period. Mercury’s Sug Sutton led all scorers in the frame with 8 points. The Mercury shot 55.6% from the field and the Aces connected on 37.5% of their tries. Phoenix outscored the Aces 12-6 in the paint.
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The Aces made 52.9 percent of their shots from the field, marking the 21st game shooting above .500 this year, while the Mercury made 47.9 percent of theirs.
Las Vegas outscored Phoenix 13-6 on the fast break.
The Aces scored 22 points off of 15 Mercury turnovers, and gave up 13 points on their 9 miscues.
Las Vegas went 12 of 16 from the free throw line, while Phoenix made 6 of 6.
Wilson scored 30 or more points for 6th time the season (36 points), and the 13th time in her career, extending franchise records in both categories.
Gray has dished out 2 or more assists in 154-straight games, the longest active streak in the league (second-longest active streak is 87). The 154-straight games with 2 or more assists ranks 3rd all-time in league history (Teresa Weatherspoon, 175).
The Aces scored 100 points a league-record 11 times this season. The previous record was 10 by the 2010 Phoenix Mercury and the 2023 Aces.
The Aces extended their WNBA record of most wins by 10 or more points in a season to 25.
The Aces not only had a franchise-high 17,406 fans at T-Mobile Arena, they finished the season leading the league in attendance with an average of 9,551 per game.
The Aces wrapped the season leading the league with 92.8 ppg, 4.8 bpg, 48.6% shooting from the field, 84% from the line, +12.6 scoring differential, a WNBA-record for offensive efficiency rating with 113.0, 97.7 defensive efficiency rating, 15.3 net rating and 1.85 assist-to-turnover ratio, and a league-fewest 11.8 turnovers a game.
The Aces take on the Chicago Sky (18-22) in the First Round of the 2023 WNBA Playoffs beginning Wednesday, Sept. 13. The First Round is a best two-out-of-three series with the higher seed hosting Games 1 and 2. Game 1 is being played at T-Mobile Arena, and tips on ESPN2 at 7 pm PT. Game Two is being played at Michelob ULTRA Arena on Sunday, September 17, and tips on ABC at 12 pm PT. The Aces swept the Sky 3-0 this season.