LAS VEGAS, NV (May 27, 2023)—On a night when they received their 2022 WNBA Championship rings, the Los Vegas Aces (3-0, 3-0) made a statement with a 12-0 run early in the first quarter and ran away with a 93-65 victory over the Los Angeles Sparks (1-2, 1-2) on Saturday night in Las Vegas. A’ja Wilson scored a game-high 23 points, Kelsey Plum scored 19 and Young added 17 points. Chelsea Gray, who chipped in 8 points, dished out 7 of the Aces 25 assists. Nneka Ogwumike scored a team-high 16 for the Sparks.
Due to injury, pregnancy and non-COVID illness, Los Angeles was down to seven available players and signed Rae Burrell this afternoon.
First Quarter (Las Vegas 31, Los Angeles 13)
Wilson put Las Vegas on the board first, which was followed by a jumper by Nneka Ogwumike for the Sparks. However, that was as close as the Sparks would get. All five Aces starters scored in a 12-0 run that put the home team up 14-2. The Aces continued to pull away and by the end of the first quarter, were firmly in command 31-13. Defense was key in establishing dominance—the Aces collected 13 points on 7 LA turnovers, while giving up 0 points off its single miscue in the period. Wilson scored a quarter-high 10 points with 1:45 left in the stanza.
Second Quarter (Las Vegas 59, Los Angeles 28)
By halftime, three Aces were in double digits for points, including Wilson with 19, Plum with 14 and Young with 10. Outscoring the Sparks 28-15 in the frame, the Aces also owned a 12-2 advantage in the paint and 8-0 points on the fast break. After Plum nabbed an errant pass and hit a jumper at the buzzer to end the first quarter, Gray hit a 3-pointer with less than a second remaining in the half for a commanding 59-28 halftime lead.
Third Quarter (Las Vegas 79, Los Angeles 51)
The Aces eased up in the third period, which the Sparks won 23-20. Young scored 6 points and Plum had 5 in the stanza.
Fourth Quarter (Las Vegas 93, Los Angeles 65)
Las Vegas rested its starters the entirety of the fourth period, and the bench scored all 14 of the Aces fourth-quarter points, led by 4 points each from Kierstan Bell and Cayla George.
It has been 1,170 days since Breonna Taylor was murdered. In 2022, three officers were federally charged with conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and civil rights violations. One of the officers later pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy, marking the first conviction in the case.
The Aces, who had just 9 turnovers in the game (7 in the first half, 0 in the third quarter), scored 25 points off of 19 Sparks turnovers.
The Aces outscored the Sparks 25-3 on the fast break and 40 to 24 in the paint.
Wilson scored in double figures for the 27th consecutive regular season game (23 points), which is the third-longest active streak in the WNBA.
The Sparks signed Rae Burrell today in order to have eight active players on the bench due to six players being unavailable—Jordin Canada (non-COVID illness), Layshia Clarendon (non-COVID illness), Chiney Ogwumike (non-COVID illness), Katie Lou Samuelson (pregnancy), Azura Stevens (back) and Jasmine Thomas (ACL recovery). Nneka Ogwumike, who did not play in the May 27 contest between the two teams, was probable earlier in the day (non-COVID illness), but was able to compete.
Riquna Williams did not dress for the Aces (lower back).
The 2022 WNBA Champion Las Vegas Aces (3-0, 3-0) close out the weekend with a home game against the Minnesota Lynx (0-3, 0-1) on Sunday evening at 6 pm PT. The game will be broadcast on the Silver State Sports & Entertainment Network. The Lynx own a 57-30 regular season series advantage over the Aces franchise. However, since the 2018 season, the series has swung in the Aces favor, 9-6.