Aces rally late, fall short to Wings, 82-80

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

By Shawn McCullough

The Aces erased a 14-point deficit in the 4th quarter, but fell short to the Wings, 82-80, in Dallas.

“Hard fought game,” said head coach Becky Hammon. “I thought we were digging out of a hole most of the game, but we were there at the end.”

Down two points with 3.8 seconds left, guard Chelsea Gray inbounded the ball on a set play to spring center A’ja Wilson, but Wilson missed the layup to send the game to overtime.

“It happens,” said Gray. “It’s going to hurt, but we should have never been in that position in the first place.”

“A’ja was the first option, it was a catch and shoot play,” said Hammon.

Wings center Teaira McCowan led Dallas with 21 points and 16 rebounds.

“That’s a team [Dallas] that is playing for its playoff life and they are playing well right now,” said Hammon.

Gray led the Aces with 28 points, hitting five three-point shots, while forward Jackie Young added 19.

“My teammates were getting me the ball and I was just knocking them down,” said Gray.

With the loss, the Aces fell to 22-10 on the season.

The Aces will play the last game of a five-game road trip on Sunday against the Storm in Seattle.

Las Vegas Aces – http://aces.wnba.com

Game Notes:

The Aces shot 44.9% from the field and hit 10 shots from three-point range.
Las Vegas was out-rebounded by the Wings, 37-32.
The Aces got just two points off the bench.

Game Starters:

C – 22 A’ja Wilson
F – 5 Dearica Hamby
F – 0 Jackie Young
G – 10 Kelsey Plum
G – 12 Chelsea Gray

Aces Injury Report:

None

Aces fall to Mystics, 83-73

Photo Credit: WNBA

By Shawn McCullough

The Mystics went on a 13-0 run late in the fourth quarter to beat the Aces, 83-73, in Washington, D.C.

“That was very much a playoff type of atmosphere, very physical,” said head coach Becky Hammon. “We need to learn to play through that.”

A’ja Wilson led the Aces with 22 points and 12 rebounds, while guard Chelsea Gray added 20.

“They just stayed consistent defensively and they stayed within their schemes,” said Gray. “We were playing right into their hands.  We need to stay more focused mentally.”

Wilson recorded her 15th double-double of the season.

Guard Kelsey Plum scored 15 points, going 3 for 9 from three-point range.

“I did a terrible job of shot selection and we gave up a ton of offensive rebounds,” said Plum on the fourth quarter. “We didn’t get A’ja [Wilson] the ball when we needed to.”

The Mystics swept the season series, 3-0, over the Aces.

“They have a lot of defenders on the court,” said Hammon. “All of the hustle categories, we lost.”

With the loss, the Aces fell to 22-9 on the season.

The Aces will play the fourth game of a five-game road trip on Thursday against the Wings in Dallas.

Las Vegas is one of five WNBA teams to have clinched a playoff berth with five games remaining in the regular season.

Las Vegas Aces – http://aces.wnba.com

Game Notes:

The Aces shot just 40.6% from the field and went 9 for 26 from three-point range.
Las Vegas was out-rebounded by the Mystics, 38-30.
The Aces got just five points off the bench.

Game Starters:

C – 22 A’ja Wilson
F – 5 Dearica Hamby
F – 0 Jackie Young
G – 10 Kelsey Plum
G – 12 Chelsea Gray

Aces Injury Report:

None

Aces win fourth straight, beat Fever, 94-69

Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images

By Shawn McCullough

The Aces took back-to-back games against the Fever with a 94-69 win at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

Las Vegas jumped out quickly, taking a 21-13 first quarter lead and controlled the rest of the game.

The Aces were led by guard Kelsey Plum, who dropped 26 points and shot 9 for 12 from the field.

A’ja Wilson, Jackie Young and Theresa Plaisance each added 13 points.

The Aces held the Fever to just 31% from the field and forced 14 turnovers.

With the win, the Aces improved to 22-8 on the season.

The Aces will play the third game of a five-game road trip on Tuesday against the Mystics in Washington, D.C.

Las Vegas Aces – http://aces.wnba.com

Game Notes:

The Aces shot 50.7% from the field and went 6 for 17 from three-point range.
Las Vegas was out-rebounded by the Fever, 39-37.
Center Kiah Stokes came off the bench and pulled down 10 rebounds.

Game Starters:

C – 22 A’ja Wilson
F – 5 Dearica Hamby
F – 0 Jackie Young
G – 10 Kelsey Plum
G – 12 Chelsea Gray

Aces Injury Report:

None

Aces keep rolling, beat Fever, 93-72

Photo Credit: WNBA

By Shawn McCullough

The Aces pulled away in the second quarter and never looked back in a 93-72 win over the Indiana Fever at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

“Overall, I was pleased with the effort and our defense,” said head coach Becky Hammon.

The Aces defense held the Fever to 36.8% from the field and forced 13 turnovers.

A’ja Wilson and Kelsey Plum each scored 22 points to lead the Aces, while Jackie Young added 15.

“I take a lot of pride in the energy of this team,” said Wilson. “We just have to keep going and keep building.  We have to focus on us and focus on getting better.”

Young played high school basketball in Princeton, IN, 150 miles from Indianapolis.

“It’s fun to come home,” said Young. “I look forward to this game every year.”

With the win, the Aces improved to 21-8 on the season.

The Aces will play the second game of a five-game road trip on Sunday against the same Indiana Fever in Indianapolis.

Las Vegas Aces – http://aces.wnba.com

Game Notes:

The Aces shot 52.8% from the field and went 9 for 26 from three-point range.
Las Vegas out-rebounded the Fever, 41-28.
The Aces turned the ball over 19 times.

Game Starters:

C – 22 A’ja Wilson
F – 5 Dearica Hamby
F – 0 Jackie Young
G – 10 Kelsey Plum
G – 12 Chelsea Gray

Aces Injury Report:

None

That’s Amaury News and Commentary: An International Trade is made Public

From left to right, Viktor Bout “The Merchant of Death” for Brittney Griner WNBA star and US Marine Paul Whelan could be made in a prisoner exchange as talks between the US and Russian governments continue (file photos from CNN News)

An International Trade is made Public

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

Brittney Griner is a WNBA star with the Phoenix Mercury. She is the only NCAA and professional basketball player to both score 2,000 points and block 500 shots. Without a doubt one of the WNBA’s biggest stars. Griner was in Russia playing for the basketball team UMMC Ekaterinburg during the WNBA off-season.

In February she was detained at Moscow Airport and has been in custody since then. Griner is accused of having vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in her luggage as she was trying to board a flight back to the US.

The US offered Russia a trade in order to free Brittney Griner. In this trade-deal the United States would send back to Russia convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout, aka “The Merchant of Death” for Griner and also American Paul Whelan, who is also in a Russian jail.

This is very unusual. In the great majority of these types of international prisoners trades, the US never releases the information of what they are proposing. The US releases the information after the trade is consummated.

Usually the US government informs the media after the Americans are secured and coming back to their country. The same is when the US announces to the world that they have captured or killed a terrorist, they do not make the announcement before.

In another interesting piece of information, the US government also announced that this proposal was done months ago and they still have not heard any positive response from the Russian government. Today this is a very tough and delicate predicament for Griner who has been there since Russia invaded Ukraine and is caught in the middle of a very tense situation.

Sometimes we here in the US are very naive when we travel abroad, and forget that what in our free country is just a misdemeanor in other countries is a felony and in this case an international crisis.

This is not about basketball but about the tough job of diplomacy between two countries that for many decades (back to the Cold War) have never liked each other.

Griner is facing a ten year sentence if she is convicted and not released because she was carrying cannabis oil inside her luggage.

If this would have happened before the Russian-Ukraine war, chances are we might not even have known about it, and Griner would have been home for months, but she is very unlucky that this happened when a war was just beginning.

The US has sent Ukraine billions of dollars in weapons of war, supporting the fight against Russia. The US, although not involved with soldiers, is fighting Russia. This is the typical proxy war.

All this above sounds like at least a made-for-TV movie or even a feature film in Hollywood. Unfortunately we are all witnessing this as it happens, in real time, in this real crazy world it is more like a Live Reality Show with international consequences.

My hopes are that Brittney Griner can gain her freedom soon and return to her family in the United States.

Join Amaury Pi Gonzalez for News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Aces win Commissioner’s Cup, beat Sky, 93-83

Las Vegas Aces’ Kelsey Plum (10) scores past Chicago Sky’s Azura Stevens during the first half of the WNBA Commissioner’s Cup basketball game Tuesday, July 26, 2022, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

By Shawn McCullough

The Aces won the second-ever Commissioner’s Cup with a 93-83 win over the Sky in Chicago.

Guard Kelsey Plum led the Aces with 24 points, while going 6 for 9 from three-point range.

A’ja Wilson recorded a double-double scoring 17 points and pulling down 17 rebounds, while guard Chelsea Gray added 19.

All WNBA teams played Commissioner’s Cup games throughout the season which eventually pit the top two teams from each conference with the best records from those games.

The game does not count towards the WNBA standings, but each Aces player earned a $30,000 bonus, while each Sky player earned a $10,000 bonus.

The Seattle Storm beat the Connecticut Sun last year to win the first Commissioner’s Cup.

The Aces will next head out on a five-game road trip starting on Friday in Indiana against the Fever.

Las Vegas Aces – http://aces.wnba.com

Game Notes:

The Aces shot 50.0% from the field and went 9 for 21 from three-point range.
Las Vegas and the Sparks each had 40 rebounds.
The Aces led the entire game.

Game Starters:

C – 22 A’ja Wilson
F – 5 Dearica Hamby
F – 0 Jackie Young
G – 10 Kelsey Plum
G – 12 Chelsea Gray

Aces Injury Report:

None

Aces come up big in fourth quarter, beat Sparks, 84-66

Aces center A’ja Wilson (22) battles Sparks center Liz Cambage (1) in the first quarter of a WNBA game at Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas, NV on Saturday, July 23, 2022. (Photo credit: Shawn McCullough/Sports Radio Service)

By Shawn McCullough

The Aces outscored Los Angeles 27-13 in the fourth quarter to beat the Sparks 84-66 at Michelob Ultra Arena.

Las Vegas led 57-53 at the end of the third quarter, but started to get shots to fall in the fourth quarter.

“Solid defensively, it wasn’t easy offensively,” said head coach Becky Hammon. “It wasn’t until that fourth quarter until we could break it open a little bit.”

“We were smarter defensively in the second half,” said guard Chelsea Gray. “In the second half, we stayed in front of people and didn’t let them get second chance points.”

The Aces were led by guard Kelsey Plum, who scored 29 points and went 4 for 8 from three-point range.

“She [Plum] is a key piece to our offense,” said A’ja Wilson. “She is reading the defense, getting to the basket and hitting threes.”

Wilson has now scored 20 points or more in seven straight games.  She scored 24 points and pulled down six rebounds.

“My teammates are setting me up,” said Wilson.

With the win, the Aces improved to 20-8 on the season and pulled to within one game of the WNBA leading Chicago Sky.

The Aces will next travel to Chicago on Tuesday to play the Sky for the Commissioners Cup.

Las Vegas Aces – http://aces.wnba.com

Game Notes:

The Aces shot just 41.4% from the field and went 10 for 27 from three-point range.
Las Vegas out-rebounded the Sparks, 38-32.
The Aces improved to 5-1 after the All-Star Break.

Game Starters:

C – 22 A’ja Wilson
F – 5 Dearica Hamby
F – 0 Jackie Young
G – 10 Kelsey Plum
G – 12 Chelsea Gray

Aces Injury Report:

None

Aces roll over Fever, 90-77

Photo Credit: Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal

By Shawn McCullough

LAS VEGAS–The Aces bounced back from a tough loss on Tuesday to the Atlanta Dream with a 90-77 win over the Indiana Fever at Michelob Ultra Arena.

Las Vegas came out fast, building a 52-32 halftime lead and overcoming a rough fourth quarter, scoring just 14 points.

“They came back a little bit, but overall, a really good win from us,” said head coach Becky Hammon.

The Aces were led by A’ja Wilson’s 23 points, while Jackie Young added 16.

“I felt like my teammates set me up to where I can score the ball,” said Wilson.

Chelsea Gray had a double-double, scoring 14 points and dishing out 12 assists.

“That’s who she [Gray] is, that is Chelsea Gray, she is the head of our snake,” said Wilson. “When she is rockin’ and rollin’, we are rockin’ and rollin’.”

“When we are playing in transition, that’s when we are flowing,” said Gray.

The win snapped a 4-game losing streak for the Aces at home.

With the win, the Aces improved to 19-8 on the season and will play the final game of a three game homestand on Saturday against the Los Angeles Sparks.

Las Vegas Aces – http://aces.wnba.com

Game Notes:

The Aces shot 48.1% from the field and went 8 for 26 from three-point range.
Las Vegas out-rebounded the Fever, 43-33.
The Aces turned the ball over 16 times.

Game Starters:

C – 22 A’ja Wilson
F – 5 Dearica Hamby
F – 0 Jackie Young
G – 10 Kelsey Plum
G – 12 Chelsea Gray

Aces Injury Report:

None

Dream stun Aces, 92-76

Photo Credit: Getty Images

By Shawn McCullough

The Atlanta Dream snapped the Aces three game winning streak with a 92-76 win over Las Vegas at Michelob Ultra Arena.

Dream shooting guard Tiffany Hayes scored 31 points, going 11 for 14 from the field and hitting four from three-point range.

The Aces came out flat, trailing 35-18 after the first quarter, and never bounced back.

A’ja Wilson led the Aces with 22 points and 10 rebounds, while Jackie Young added 18.

With the loss, the Aces fell to 18-8 on the season and are now 1.5 games behind Chicago at the top of the WNBA standings.

The Aces will play the second game of a three game homestand on Thursday against the Indiana Fever.

Las Vegas Aces – http://aces.wnba.com

Game Notes:

The Aces shot only 36.6% from the field.
Las Vegas was out-rebounded by the Dream, 40-29.
The Aces never led in the game.

Game Starters:

C – 22 A’ja Wilson
F – 5 Dearica Hamby
F – 0 Jackie Young
G – 10 Kelsey Plum
G – 12 Chelsea Gray

Aces Injury Report:

None

Aces win third straight, beat Sun, 91-83

Photo Credit: Sean D. Elliot/The Day

By Shawn McCullough

The Aces finished off a three game East Coast road trip with a 91-83 win over the Sun in Connecticut.

The Aces trailed 37-35 at halftime, but came out on a 9-0 run to start the second half to pull away.

Guard Kelsey Plum scored a game high 22 points, going 7 for 14 from the field.

Chelsea Gray dropped 21 points, while A’ja Wilson added 20 and pulled down seven rebounds.

The Aces went 3-0 on this East Coast road trip.

With the win, the Aces improved to 18-7 on the season and are one game behind Chicago at the top of the WNBA standings.

The Aces will return home for three straight games, including their next game against the Atlanta Dream on Tuesday.

Las Vegas Aces – http://aces.wnba.com

Game Notes:

The Aces shot only 41.9% from the field.
Las Vegas was out-rebounded by the Sun, 41-30.
The Aces signed guard Kelsey Plum to a contract extension.

Game Starters:

C – 22 A’ja Wilson
F – 5 Dearica Hamby
F – 0 Jackie Young
G – 10 Kelsey Plum
G – 12 Chelsea Gray

Aces Injury Report:

None