It came down to the final day of the regular season, but the Aces finally caught the Seattle Storm.
In a game in which the winner gets the number one seed in the WNBA playoffs, the Aces rallied past Seattle, 86-84, at the IMG Bubble in Bradenton, FL.
Las Vegas trailed 79-74 with just 5:11 remaining in the game and went on a 10-0 run to secure the win.
A’ja Wilson and Dearica Hamby each dropped 23 points, while Danielle Robinson added 13.
Each team finished the regular season with an 18-4 record, but the Aces won the tiebreaker having won both games against Seattle.
This marks the first time since 2008 that the franchise has finished the season with the best overall record (then the San Antonio Silver Stars).
The Aces will enter the WNBA playoffs with a double bye and will play the lowest seed remaining from the first two rounds of the playoffs. Las Vegas will play a best three out of five series starting on Sunday.
Everyone expected the Raiders offense to be more explosive this season, but it was the defense that saved the game for Las Vegas.
The defense stopped the Panthers on 4th and 1 late in the game to preserve a 34-30 win over the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, NC.
With the Panthers driving and down 34-30 with under two minutes left in the game, Carolina faced a 4th and 1 at the Las Vegas 46 yard line and rushed Alex Armah up the middle, only to be stuffed for no gain by the Raiders defense.
“They got the stop when we needed it,” said head coach Jon Gruden on his defense. “Fourth quarter defense is going to be a big part of winning in this league.”
The Raiders were led by second year running back Josh Jacobs who rushed 25 times for 93 yards and three touchdowns.
“It’s big to get a win in the first year in Las Vegas and not only that, for Oakland too to let them know that we are still here and we still want to win games,” said Jacobs.
The Raiders left Oakland this season to play in Las Vegas.
“That was a championship effort by a lot of guys,” said Gruden. “I am just really happy to get a win for the Las Vegas Raiders, first win of the history of the Raider franchise in Vegas and hopefully our fans saw something that they liked.”
Quarterback Derek Carr was instrumental in moving the ball for the Raiders all game, throwing for 239 yards and one touchdown to wide receiver Nelson Agholor.
“Derek Carr was great today, that’s what we asked of him,” said Gruden about Carr. “In a game like this, we didn’t know much about our opponent, but he made a lot of plays.”
“I’m so happy for our fans and I am proud of our guys to pull through,” said Carr.
The Raiders fell down 30-27 with 8:29 remaining in the game, but remained composed and drove 75 yards in nine plays for the game winning six yard touchdown run by Josh Jacobs.
With the win, the Raiders improved to 1-0 on the season and will make their debut at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas next Monday night against the New Orleans Saints.
The Raiders were out-gained in total yards, 388-372.
Las Vegas committed only three penalties for 40 yards.
Tight end Darren Waller led the Raiders with six catches.
Rookie WR Henry Ruggs caught three balls for 55 yards, while rushing two times for 11 yards.
The Aces continue to battle for the number one seed in the playoffs with a 93-78 win over the Connecticut Sun at the IMG Bubble in Bradenton, FL.
A’ja Wilson, Jackie Young and Dearica Hamby each had 20 or more points in the game to lead the Aces.
Las Vegas took control of the game in the first quarter and continued to extend their lead as the game went on.
With just five games remaining in the regular season, the Aces already clinched a playoff berth, but Las Vegas is looking to catch the first place Seattle Storm, who are one game ahead of the Aces.
The two teams will most likely play a very meaningful game to finish the regular season on September 13th.
With the win, the Aces improved to 13-4 on the season heading into their next game on Saturday against the 5-13 Atlanta Dream. The Aces beat the Dream in the second game of the season back on July 29th, 100-70.