LAS VEGAS (June 29)—A smothering 3rd-quarter defense helped the Las Vegas Aces (14-1) lead wire-to-wire, Thursday evening, in a 98-81 victory over the New York Liberty (10-4) at Michelob ULTRA Arena.
In the deciding period, the Aces outscored the Liberty 27-14, held the visiting squad to just 31.2% (5-16 FGs) shooting and scored 6 points off the Liberty’s 5 turnovers. On the flip side, the Aces fired off 55.6% (10-18 FGs) from the field, dished out 8 assists and had 4 steals. The Aces also held Breanna Stewart to 1 point in the period.
All 5 Aces starters scored between 14-18 points, led by Kelsey Plum’s 18 and a season-high 8 assists. A’ja Wilson scored 16, Candace Parker and Jackie Young had 15 apiece and Chelsea Gray added 14 points and 6 assists. Stewart entered the game as the league’s second-leading scorer (22.6 ppg) and was held to 16 points.
First Quarter Highlights (Las Vegas 28, New York 22)
The Aces struck first and went up 11-4 in the first 3 minutes. The Liberty clawed back and with 2:23 left in the quarter the Aces lead was cut to 1, 20-19. A driving layup and a pair of free throws from Plum, however, helped the Aces recover with an 8-3 spurt to close the first stanza with a 6-point edge. Plum connected on 5 of 7 from the field and finished with 13 points, while Stewart scored 10 for the Liberty. The Aces scored 8 points on 4 Liberty turnovers and gave up 0 on its lone miscue. Las Vegas shot 57.1% (12-21 FGs) from the field and New York shot 47.4% (9-19 FGs).
Second Quarter Highlights (Las Vegas 49, New York 42)
The Aces slowly increased their lead, and were up by 13, 47-34, after a Gray pullup jumper with 2:03 to play before halftime. The Liberty responded with an 8-2 run, including a pair of free throws with 1.2 seconds remaining to cut the Aces lead to 49-42, and the Aces retired to their locker room with a 7-point advantage. Parker, who was a perfect 2 of 2 from afar, scored a quarter-high 8 points. The Aces connected on 64.3% (9-14 FGs) of their field goal attempts and the Liberty made 56.2% (9-16 FGs) of theirs.
Third Quarter Highlights (Las Vegas 76, New York 56)
Parker scored 7 points in an 11-0 opening run in the first 2:43 of the second half as the Aces lead expanded to 60-42. Another 11-3 later in the stanza pushed the Las Vegas’ advantage over the 20-point mark. The Aces received 8 points apiece from Wilson and Young,
Fourth Quarter Highlights (Las Vegas 98, New York 81)
The Aces took their largest lead of the night, 88-61, with 5:48 left on the clock, emptying their bench moments later en route to their seventh straight victory .
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The Aces dished out 32 assists on 40 field goals.
Las Vegas scored 22 points off 17 turnovers, but gave up just 9 points from 8 of their own miscues.
Las Vegas had 10 steals to the Liberty’s 3.
The Aces’ starters outscored the Liberty starters 78-49.
The Aces shot 57.97% (40-69 FGs) from the field, recording the league’s second-best single-game shooting percentage this season (the Aces’ 58.46% against Chicago on June 11). The Liberty connected on 47.7 percent of their field goal attempts.
With their win, the Aces moved into No. 3 in league history for victories before a 2nd loss on the season.
W-L Season Team
20-1 2016 Los Angeles Sparks
20-1 1998 Houston Comets
14-1 2023 Las Vegas Aces
The Aces current 13-game home winning streak is the longest in franchise history. The streak of 13-straight home wins has been accomplished 18 times in WNBA history, and the record is 28 by the Sparks in 2000-02.
Courtney Vandersloot’s 5 assists were a season-low, and her 6 turnovers were a season-high.
The Aces are averaging a league-high 93.1 points per game, which would be the highest scoring average in franchise history should they maintain it. Only the 2010 (93.9 ppg.) Phoenix Mercury have averaged more than in a season.
Las Vegas is now outscoring opponents by 15.5 points on the year which is the largest scoring differential through 15 games in WNBA history.
The Aces have scored 90+ points in all but 3 games this season.
Riquna Williams did not dress for the Aces (lower back).
The Aces have two more games remaining in their five-game homestand from July 1-5, starting with No. 3 Connecticut Sun (12-4) on July 1 and No. 6 Dallas Wings (7-8) on July 5.
The Aces and Sun played twice earlier this month in Connecticut, with the teams splitting the series. The Aces took the first game on June 6, 90-84, while the Sun rebounded for a 94-77 victory on June 8.
In Game 1, the Aces held a 48-31 lead at halftime, were up 70-53 going into the final period, and held off a fourth-quarter surge from Connecticut for the 6-point win. The Aces assisted on each of their first 13 made field goals and rounded out the night with 25 dimes on 32 buckets. Wilson scored a game-high 23 points to go with 10 rebounds; Young finished with 22 points, 7 caroms and 6 assists; Plum notched 17 points and 6 assists; and Gray chipped in 14 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists. Rebecca Allen, who had 2 points in the first half, tallied 14 points in the 4th quarter and topped out for the Sun with 22 points. Alyssa Thomas grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds and scored 14 points.
In Game 2, Connecticut halted the Aces 11-game winning streak thanks to the hot hand of DeWanna Bonner, who scored a career- and franchise-high 41 points (16-23 FGs). The Aces received 16 points from Plum, Wilson scored 13 to top the 3,000-point career scoring mark, Gray notched 12 and Young had 10. Las Vegas was held to a season-low 77 points and made 46.7% of its shots from the field overall, after making 30.8% in the first quarter, while Connecticut hit on 52.9%. Thomas dished out 12 assists for the Sun.