Las Vegas Aces center Liz Cambage, left, is looking to take a shot against the Los Angeles Sparks forward Lauren Cox at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Fri Jul 2, 2021 (AP News photo)
By Barbara Mason
Friday night the Las Vegas Aces took on the Los Angeles Sparks for a second time in as many days. The Aces are tied with the Seattle Storm for first place in the Western Conference. Both teams will be taking on 6-9 teams; the Aces taking on the Sparks and the Storm playing the Dream.
Of course as we have seen time and time again; it’s not the record at the time, it’s how the team is playing on any given day. Nothing is guaranteed but if I had to make a pick, I would predict that both first place teams come away with wins tonight.
The Sparks had a much better game in both the first and the second quarters than their last meeting with the Aces. They trailed in each quarter by four points. It was the Spark turnovers that really gave the edge to the Aces.
Las Vegas led at the half by the score of 38-30. This was a much closer first half than their prior meeting. Last Wednesday the Aces led by 19 at the half. The Sparks were more competitive in the first half than in their last meeting although it was the turnovers that really hurt them.
The Sparks although a smaller team were really disrupting the rhythm of the Aces in the first half. Las Vegas had 22 points in the paint while the Sparks only had 12. At the half Las Vegas’ A’ja Wilson led in scoring with 13 points and for Los Angeles Te’a Cooper had 7 points.
The Sparks outscored the Aces in the third quarter by the slim margin of 14-13. Los Angeles really put the clamps on Las Vegas in the fourth quarter. The Sparks trailed by four points early in the final quarter really turning on some defensive prowess.
With 6:23 left in the game the Aces led by a single point. Las Vegas would have to dig deep to get by a stubborn Spark’s team that refused to go away. The Aces offense had gone cold in the fourth quarter. The Sparks had their first lead of the game with five minutes left 55-54.
The Aces offense came to life when it was so desperately needed giving Las Vegas the win in this hotly contested game 66-58. Despite the bumps the gritty Aces pulled this game out to remain in first place in the Western Conference. The Storm also had a heart stopper winning 91-88.
A’Ja Wilson finished with 20 points. Chelsea Gray had 14 and Liz Cabbage with 10 points.
Sunday afternoon the Aces will take on the Atlanta Dream. Tipoff is at 3:00.