Aces stay undefeated hang on to beat Sun 90-84

The Las Vegas Aces center A’ja Wilson (22) and the Connecticut Sun guard Tyasha Harris (52) take a photo before their game at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Montville on Tue Jun 6, 2023 (photo by @ LVAces)

Aces Hang On To Beat Sun 90-84

By Barbara Mason

Tuesday night the Las Vegas Aces (7-0) took on the Connecticut Sun (6-2) in a re-match of last season’s championship game. This was the most anticipated game of the season and the Aces who took a perfect record into the game came away with a 90-84 win staying undefeated.

On Sunday the Aces very nearly lost to the Fever trailing for most of the game and in fact did not take the lead until the final minutes of the game avoiding the loss 84-80.

Las Vegas knew full well that there was a target on their backs and every team is out to take down the champions. The Aces had a strong defense against the Sun and they took advantage of their speedy offense. This game no doubt was the biggest challenge they had faced this season and the Aces lived up to it.

Tuesday game recap: The Aces got on top of the Sun in the opening quarter taking a 25-14 lead. The Sun had 6 turnovers in the quarter and had trouble containing the Las Vegas offense. The Aces shot 53% from the field in the first quarter, getting a far improved start over Sunday’s game against the Fever. The Aces had 13 fast break points to the Suns 0 in the quarter.

Las Vegas extended their lead in the opening minute of the second quarter leading 28-14. The Aces led in the half from start to finish and had a 48-31 lead at halftime. The Suns had 12 turnovers and also had trouble containing the Aces’ offense.

Las Vegas was shooting at 50% from the field and would have to keep the pressure on in the second half. Jackie Young shot for 11 points in the half and both Kelsey Plum and Chelsea Gray had ten points.

The Suns came into the third quarter with great energy on both ends of the court cutting into the Aces lead to 53-41. As the quarter came to an end Las Vegas led 70-53 finishing the quarter with the energy that they were lacking to start. The Sun had one quarter left to make any sort of run.

Connecticut made a run in the fourth quarter with Rebecca Allen shooting 22 off the bench. The 19 point lead that Las Vegas had in the quarter had been cut to three points 76-73 with 3:50 left in the game. The Sun had taken control of this game.

With less than two minutes left in this game the Aces were facing yet another challenge. Again it was Jackie Young to the rescue pushing the Las Vegas lead to 86-79. Young has come to the rescue over and over in the fourth quarter of these tight games. Las Vegas pulled it together in the final minutes of the game winning it. It was another tight game that the Aces had to fight hard to win.

Las Vegas is now undefeated with a 7-0 record. A’Ja Wilson finished with 23 points, 10 rebounds, and Jackie Young had 22. It was another gutsy performance by the defending champs hanging on for the win.

Connecticut Bench player Rebecca Allen had a career high 22 points and was 6 of 7 from beyond the arc. She single handedly gave her team an amazing chance to pull this game out. The Sun got very close, playing a terrific fourth quarter, but just fell short.

The Aces have not seen the last of the Sun taking them on again this Thursday night. Tipoff is scheduled for 4:00 PM.

Aces Mightily Challenged By Fever But Prevail 84-80; Las Vegas on six game winning streak

Indianapolis Fever forward Aliyah Boston (7) and Las Vegas Aces center A’ja Wilson (22) wait to set up for the next play at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on Sun Jun 4, 2023 (@LVAces photo)

Aces Mightily Challenged By Fever But Prevail 84-80

By Barbara Mason

The Las Vegas Aces (6-0) took on the Indiana Fever(1-4) Sunday in Indianapolis and picked up their sixth straight win to remain undefeated beating the Fever 84-80.

The Aces got a slow start and found themselves down 28-21 after the first ten minutes of play. This team does not find themselves trailing very often and so it was a bit disconcerting when they continued to trail after the first half of basketball although it had become a one point game 39-38.

The third quarter was shaky at best with the Aces continuing to struggle and the Fever extending their lead 63-56. The defending champions had a bulls eye on their back and the Fever were doing their best to zero in on Las Vegas.

The team needed to lean on Kelsey Plum who had five points through three quarters. Jackie Young was not having the game that we usually see from her. either The team would need all hands on deck to pull this game out in the fourth quarter.

With 7:38 left in the fourth quarter the Aces called a timeout. They had fallen behind 71-61 and were in danger of dropping their first game of the season. The fiery game that we have become accustomed to seeing from all of these players was off in this game and they would have to dig deep to win this one.

The Fever were shooting over 55 % from beyond the arc and the Aces were only 20% from downtown. The two teams were very even from the field but it was not only the long balls but Indiana was out rebounding them as well.

With 4:03 left in the game the Aces had tied it all up at 72 and had a real fight on their hands. With two minutes left on the clock the Fever had a 79-76 lead. With 47 ticks left in the game it was all knotted at 80. The Aces had to pull out all the stops winning the fourth quarter 28-17 and the game 84-80. It was a ferocious pace in the final minutes and the Fever put up quite a fight but it was Las Vegas who prevailed in the end.

A’Ja Wilson finished the game with the high of 27 points and ten rebounds. Jackie Young had 19 points and teammate Chelsea Gray had 17. The Fever’s Kelsey Mitchell had the high for Indiana with 22 points and they sure gave the Aces a run for their money falling to the defending champions at the end.

After the scare, the Aces will head to Connecticut for a game with the Sun. The Sun have a 6-1 record and Las Vegas will again have to dig deep in this game. Tipoff is scheduled for 4:00 PM.

Las Vegas Stays Undefeated Winning Fifth In A Row Beating Dream 92-87

The Las Vegas Aces bench with Chelsea Gray (12) are jubilant as the Aces remain undefeated in WNBA action with a win over the Atlanta Dream at Gateway Center Arena in Atlanta on Fri Jun 2, 2023 (@LVAces photo)

Las Vegas Stays Undefeated Winning Fifth In A Row Beating Dream 92-87

By Barbara Mason

Friday evening the Las Vegas Aces (4-0) traveled to Atlanta to take on the Atlanta Dream (2-2) and for Aces they remained undefeated with a 92-87 victory. Las Vegas has started the season with a bang amid controversy which has not slowed them down. They played without their Head Coach Becky Hammon in the first two games of the season.

Despite that they sailed through the first two games without Hammon and went on to capture the following three games now sporting a 5-0 record. They clocked their fifth win Friday night.

The Aces have more points per game, a higher percentage of field goals, rebounds, and assists then the Dream. They are also adept when it comes to stealing the ball and there is not much that they cannot do.

The solid starting roster that the Aces have presented huge problems for opposing teams. They are, of course, led by A’Ja Wilson, Jackie Young, Chelsea Gray, Kelsey Plum and Candace Parker. There is not a starter or bench player that is not a threat on this team.

The threat that the Dream brought to this game is Cheyenne Parker, Rhyne Howard and Allisha Gray, everyone of them solid starters. They crushed the Sky last Tuesday 83-65 while the Aces celebrated their fourth win of the season over Minnesota 94-73 on Sunday.

Friday game recap: The Aces got off to a nice start leading after the first ten minutes 24-15. The Dream were only shooting at 31% and the Aces were doing a nice job defensively.

After leading by more than ten points in the second quarter, the Dream made a run but the Aces finished off the first two quarters leading by 15 points 45-30. The Dream were challenged defending Wilson and Young. It was all Aces so far in this game. Parker, who has 16 seasons under her belt, was all over the court dictating play throughout the first two quarters.

Las Vegas continued to lead as the third quarter came to an end, 72-58.

The Aces had led by as much as 19 but the Dream made a run in the fourth quarter to pull to within ten points, 82-72 with 4:10 left in the game. Ten turnovers for the Aces were hurting Las Vegas as the Dream tried to work back into the game trailing 82-86 with 1:38 left in the game.

Atlanta was threatening to hand the Aces their first loss of the season. With under one minute left in the game the Aces were clinging onto a three-point lead 87-84.

A Las Vegas steal gave the Aces an 89-84 lead in a real nail-biter. With 22.5 left in the game Chelsea Gray hit a clutch two giving her team a 91-87 lead. The final was 92-87. The Dream fought hard and very nearly pulled off the upset but just came up short.

Las Vegas had to pull out all the stops to win this game. Wilson finished the game with 21 points and Young had 20 points. The high score for the Dream with 25 points was Cheyenne Parker. It was a close game but the Aces dug deep and came away with the win.

Sunday afternoon the Aces will take on the Indiana Fever on the road. Tipoff is scheduled for 1:00 PM.

Aces Win Fourth Game In a Row Over Winless Lynx 94-73

The Minnesota Lynx forward Naphessia Collier (24) and the Las Vegas Aces center A’ja Wilson (22) stand side by side for the tip off at Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas on Sun May 28, 2023 (photo from @minnesotalynx)

Aces Win Fourth Game In a Row Over Winless Lynx 94-73

By Barbara Mason

Sunday evening the Las Vegas Aces (4-0) took on the Minnesota Lynx (0-4) getting their fourth win in a row 94-73. The Aces put a real hurt on the Los Angeles Sparks Saturday evening 93-65. The Aces had a great opening quarter in Saturday’s game leading after the first ten minutes 31-13.

Sunday night’s game against the Lynx did not have the blowout first quarter that the Aces saw Saturday although they did lead 24-17 after the first ten minutes. A’Ja Wilson had 12 points in the opening quarter.

Sunday night’s starters were able to sit out the fourth quarter of Saturday’s game giving them a much needed and much deserved break. They needed that break to handle a tenacious Minnesota team lead by Tiffany Mitchell.

At the half the Aces had extended their lead to 50-38.

It took the Aces three quarters to put some distance between themselves and the Lynx. By the end of the third quarter Las Vegas had a 20 point lead 73-53 and had taken control of this game. Both Wilson and Jackie Young had 18 points and Kelsey Plum and bench player Alysha Clark had 11 points.

Minnesota made a run in the fourth quarter pulling to within 14 points. Las Vegas took a timeout with 4:25 left in the game. The Aces wanted to clock their fourth win a row and needed to re-group before finishing off Minnesota.

Whatever was said during that time-out, it sure resonated as Las Vegas put the finishing touches on their fourth win in a row in front of their home crowd 94-73. Jackie Young finished with the high score, 23 points.

The Aces will get a bit of a breather before traveling to Atlanta to take on the Dream Friday night. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:00 PM.

Explosive Aces Crush Los Angeles 93-65

The Las Vegas Aces received their WNBA Championship rings on Sat May 27, 2023 before their game against the Los Angeles Sparks at the Ultra Michelob Arena in Las Vegas (@LVAces photo)

Explosive Aces Crush Los Angeles 93-65

By Barbara Mason

The Las Vegas Aces (3-0) took on the Los Angeles Sparks (1-2) Saturday evening with their head coach Becky Hammon back at the helm. Winning their first two games of the season without Hammond was a pure indication of the incredible caliber of talent on this team.

The bottom line is that the suspension of Hammon is over and this team is ready to make a serious run for a back-to-back championship. Winning the first two games of this young season speaks volumes to the character and talent of this team. With Hammon in front of the Aces Bench the Aces absolutely dominated the Sparks 93-65 in Las Vegas.

The first quarter of this game was a far cry from Thursday night’s game which saw the Sparks take a 25-15 lead to open that game. The Aces played with so much heart leading after the first ten minutes 31-13. A’Ja Wilson already had ten points and Kelsey Plum was right on the verge with nine points. The slow start that Las Vegas had in Los Angeles was clearly in the rear view mirror.

Fans in attendance got to not only see an incredible first half of basketball but also the championship ring ceremony and the unveiling of the first WNBA Championship banner for Las Vegas. The glitz and glimmer that we all love about Las Vegas was on full display at Michelob ULTRA Arena Saturday night.

After two quarters the Aces had distanced themselves from the Sparks leading at the half 46-23. They won the second quarter 28-15. Las Vegas had dominated offensively and defensively. They only had four turnovers to the Sparks 12 and the offensive effort was off the charts.

The Aces shot 56% from the field and over 40% from downtown. The Sparks fell short shooting 36% from the field and only 22% from beyond the arc. Wilson, Kelsey Plum and Jackie Young all had double digits in the half.

The Aces had a real drop-off in the third quarter. They just didn’t have the same energy that they had in the first half. The Sparks won the third quarter 23-20 but had a huge hole to dig out of trailing 79-51.

The Las Vegas starters got a break in the fourth quarter; a well-deserved break. With the incredible depth on this Las Vegas team it doesn’t really matter who is on the floor.

Wilson had the high for the Aces with 23 points and six rebounds. Plum finished with 19 points and Jackie Young had 16 points. The Aces only had eight turnovers to the Sparks 19.

Sunday evening the Aces will take on the Lynx in Las Vegas before heading out on the road. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:00 PM as they try to remain undefeated.

Aces rally to beat the Sparks, 94-85

By Shawn McCullough

Down ten points at halftime, the Aces outscored the Sparks, 58-39 in the second half to beat Los Angeles, 94-85, at Arena.

“Great overall effort in the second half,” said acting head coach Natalie Nakase. “Just fighting back in the second half from an ugly start to get that win.”

Jackie Young led the Aces with 30 points, 17 coming in the second half.

“That’s Jackie,” said A’ja Wilson. “She is one of the bests two-way guards in the league.”

Wilson recorded a double-double, scoring 19 points and pulling down 13 rebounds.

“I knew that I had to crash the boards and those are the possessions that we need,” said Wilson.

Guard Chelsea Gray added 16 points and eight assists.

With the win, the Aces improved to 2-0 on the season and will head home on Saturday for their home opener against the Sparks at Michelob Ultra Arena.

Head coach Becky Hammon will return from a two-game suspension on Saturday.

Las Vegas Aces –

Game Notes:

The Aces shot 52.5% from the field.
Las Vegas went 10 for 23 from three-point range.
The Aces starting five scored 84 of the 94 total points.

Game Starters:

C – 3 Candace Parker
F – 22 A’ja Wilson
F – 0 Jackie Young
G – 10 Kelsey Plum
G – 12 Chelsea Gray

Aces Injury Report:

Riquna Williams, Out, Lower Back

Las Vegas Aces commentary with Barbara Mason: Aces tested by Hammons suspension got a passing grade on opening night in Seattle

Las Vegas Aces guard Kelsey Plum (10) pushes through the defense of Seattle Storm guards Jordan Horston, left, and Jewell Loyd, right, during the first half at Mandalay Events Sports Center in Las Vegas on Saturday, May 20, 2023, in Seattle. (AP News photo)

Aces Shine Dominating Storm In Season Opener 105-64

By Barbara Mason

This weekend the WNBA regular season got underway with a number of games already played on Friday night. Saturday the defending champs, the Las Vegas Aces (1-0) took the court against the Seattle Storm (0-1). The Aces have had a challenging off-season going back to early 2023.

There have been serious allegations that has certainly cast a dark cloud over the start of the season for this team. Head Coach Becky Hammon will miss the first two games due to a suspension handed down by the WNBA for violating workplace policies. There is still a lot more to all of this than meets the eye. In spite of the distractions of the Hammon suspension the Aces pulled off a opening night victory at Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle 105-64.

This has most certainly been a distraction for the Aces as this is only one of many issues they were facing during the off- season. That being said, this opening game is an important one that will shed a lot of light on the entire situation and how this team will handle all of this going forward. There has to be one focus for the team right now and that is their quest for another title.

The opener against the Storm will give the Aces a lot of answers and they will have A’Ja Wilson, the reigning MVP in last years championships, and company divulging the queries that many have right now. With so much spotlight on all of this it’s time to flip the script and turn it in the direction of the game-it’s time to play ball.

As the first quarter came to an end the Aces held an 18-14 lead struggling from the floor but still able to maintain the lead for most of the quarter. Kelsey Plum who had shoulder surgery in the off-season had eight points in the quarter as did Jackie Young.

In the second quarter the Aces turned on the offensive firepower that is their trademark and less than two minutes into the quarter had a 25-14 lead with a lot of game still to be played. With less than two minutes left in the half, the Storm went to the line for the first time in the game.

The Aces distanced themselves from the Storm in the second quarter leading at the half 43-28. Las Vegas had outplayed the Storm at every vantage; rebounding, points in the paint and from the perimeter. The Aces chemistry played a huge part in the second quarter of this game and pushing the lead to 15 Las Vegas continued to extend their lead in the third quarter forging ahead to a 74-48 lead.

Seattle’s Jewell Loyd had her teams high with 15 but she was the only player with double digits after three quarters. The Aces already had four players in double digits and A’Ja Wilson was having an impressive defensive game with 13 rebounds.

The entire Aces starting lineup finished with double digits. In the fourth quarter the Storm had their first second chance basket just indicative of the Las Vegas defensive dominance. in this game. The final was 42 point blowout. The offensive chemistry and the defensive brilliance was just to hot to handle for Seattle.

The Aces had 50 rebounds to the Storm 32, almost 55% from the field and over 60% from beyond the arc. It was about as solid as you could get. A’Ja Wilson clocked her 55th double double, a franchise record. There remained little doubt regarding how the team would play in the absence of their coach Becky Hammond. It speaks volumes of the chemistry that this team has in place.

The Aces will head back in California to take on the Los Angeles Sparks on Thursday evening. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:00 PM.

Aces start season with blowout win over Seattle 105-64

Las Vegas Aces forward A’ja Wilson (22) blocks the shot of Seattle Storm guard Kia Nurse (0) during the first half of a WNBA basketball game, Saturday, May 20, 2023, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)

By Shawn McCullough

The defending WNBA world champions had no problem rolling over the Storm in Seattle, 105-64.

Jackie Young and Kelsey Plum each led the Aces with 23 points, while A’ja Wilson added 13 points and 13 rebounds.

“It’s not easy,” said Wilson despite the blowout win. “We’ve got newcomers that have to get used to the system. We ourselves as the core are still trying to get to know and jell with everyone. I think it’s just going to come with time.”

The Aces were without head coach Becky Hammon, who is currently serving a two-game suspension from the WNBA for violating league rules regarding impermissible player benefits and workplace policies.

Tyler Marsh was the acting head coach.

“I’m a coach’s kid, so I grew up in coaching,” Marsh said. “For my dad to be out here just to see me coach and for my wife and my son to be out here, that’s the sentimental part for me.”

Newly acquired center Candace Parker debuted with 12 points.

The Aces will next travel to Los Angeles on Thursday to face the Sparks.

Las Vegas Aces –

Game Notes:

The Aces shot 54.8% from the field.
Las Vegas went 11 for 18 from three-point range.
The Aces starting five scored 85 of the 105 total points.

Game Starters:

C – 3 Candace Parker
F – 22 A’ja Wilson
F – 0 Jackie Young
G – 10 Kelsey Plum
G – 12 Chelsea Gray

Aces Injury Report:

Riquna Williams, Out, Lower Back

Las Vegas Aces report: Becky Hammom Suspended 2 games Over WNBA Violations; Hammon to miss opener in Seattle Saturday

Former Las Vegas Aces Dearica Hamby left, looking up and smiling and below seated on the right Aces head coach Becky Hammon who starts her suspension on opening night Sat May 20 when the Aces are scheduled to face the Seattle Storm at Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle ( 2022 photo from TMZ file)

Becky Hammom Suspended Over WNBA Violations

By Barbara Mason

There have been a number of issues surrounding the Las Vegas Aces since February. The allegations that the defending champs had circumvented the WNBA’s salary cap making under the table payments to players. This violation, if proven, could lead to the stiffest discipline in the league since the New York Liberty was fined $500,000 in the 2021 season for chartering of unsanctioned flights to away games.

It doesn’t stop there; the Aces have also been under fire lately after former Ace Dearica Hamby posted some news on social media surrounding her trade to the Los Angeles Sparks. She claimed unprofessional and unethical treatment revolving around her pregnancy that she has claimed was traumatizing.

The WNBA has been investigating Hamby’s claim of being lied to, bullied, manipulated and discriminated due to her pregnancy. The Aces have been cooperating with the WNBA. It has been a tough road for the team because of the friendships that have evolved season in and season out.

Last season, the Aces won their first WNBA title under first-year coach Becky Hammon. This team looked to be ready and primed to repeat with their latest signing of Candace Parker and defender Alysha Clark. Both of these players took pay cuts looking to join this team and work towards numerous titles, in fact core players from last year took the same pay cuts.

Today the verdict came down on the comments made by Becky Hammon. The former Spurs assistant coach will miss two games without pay and will lose their first-round draft pick in 2025. It was decided that the team had violated the WNBA’s league and team respect in the Workplace policies.

While Hamby did not single out anyones name to the comments made, she did say that she was told that she was not taking precautions and that she was traded because it was stated that she would not be ready for the new season. The team also claimed that she was not taking her workouts seriously. They did tell her that it was best for her career that she move on from Las Vegas.

The league’s investigation was comprised of 33 people who were interviewed as well as texts, emails and other documents. So now the Aces are being disciplined for not upholding the values of integrity and fairness. The loss of their first-round draft pick in 2025 is the first time this has been done in league history. The Aces are not done; they are also facing other questionable conduct charges. We will have to wait to see if anything comes of these additional charges.

Defending Champion Aces Top Liberty 84-77 in Preseason Matchup

@LVAces photo

Defending Champion Aces Top Liberty 84-77 in Preseason Matchup

By Barbara Mason

Just as the NBA enters the 2022-23 finals, the WNBA is just getting underway with their preseason. Saturday afternoon the Las Vegas Aces (1-0) welcomed the New York Liberty (0-2) to Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas their first match-up of this pre-season.

The Aces as defending WNBA champions will be looking for a back-to-back title. This was their first title and they are looking for a repeat. They will be led by MVP Chelsea Gray, A’Ja Wilson, Candace Parker, Jackie Young, and Kelsey Plum; a lethal starting lineup.

The Aces won the first quarter leading 22-15. In the second quarter Las Vegas turned that seven point lead into a 20 point lead 50-30 at the half. Three of the Aces starters already had double digits. Kelsey Plum had the high score in the first half with 17 points. Gray and Wilson both had 13 points as well as each of them with six rebounds apiece.

After the nice lead that the Aces held over the Liberty at the half, New York challenged Las Vegas in the third quarter. The Aces edged the Liberty in the quarter 23-22 still leading 73-52.

The Liberty ramped it up in the fourth quarter cutting the Las Vegas lead in half with 5:21 left in the game. The Aces were holding onto a 76-66 lead. The Liberty got as close as eight points but the Aces extended their lead in the final three minutes of the game. The Liberty made a move in the final minute of play trailing 75-81 but just ran out of clock. The Aces made a final run winning the game 84-77.

Kelsey Plum had a terrific game finishing with 22 points, the team high. A’Ja Wilson had 17 points and seven rebounds. Kierstan Bell also had double digits off the bench with ten points. The Aces were ten of 25 from downtown.

Next up for the Aces will be on Saturday May 20th in a matchup with the Seattle Storm. That weekend will kick off the regular season. This will be a road game for the Aces with tipoff scheduled for 12:00 PM.