Aces blown out in game two of semifinals, 117-91

Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi (3) calls a play as she brings the up court against the Las Vegas Aces during the second half of Game 2 in the semifinals of the WNBA playoffs Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)


By Shawn McCullough

The Phoenix Mercury stole home court advantage with a 117-91 blowout of the Las Vegas Aces at the Michelob Ultra Arena.

“Effort, we didn’t have it tonight,” said head coach Bill Laimbeer. “They played harder because they wanted it more than us.”

Laimbeer wasn’t happy with his team’s performance, but also was unhappy with the referees.

“Getting a little tired of the referees and how we’re being refereed,” said Laimbeer.

Kelsey Plum led the Aces with 25 points off the bench, going 10 for 17 from the field including 3 for 8 from three-point range.

The Aces had six players score in double digits, while shooting 52.2% from the field.

The Aces just couldn’t find a way to stop Mercury guard Diana Taurasi, who dropped 37 points, hitting eight three-pointers.

Phoenix started the game fast, building a 17-point lead in the first quarter.  The Mercury controlled the game after that.

The Aces and the Mercury are now tied 1-1 in the best of five game series.

The Aces will travel to Phoenix to play game three of the WNBA semifinals on Sunday.

Las Vegas Aces – http://aces.wnba.com

Game Notes:

– The Mercury shot 60.6% from the field.
– The Aces were out-rebounded by Phoenix, 36-23.
– Las Vegas turned the ball over just six times (Phoenix had 14 turnovers).

Game Starters:

F – 22 A’ja Wilson
F – 3 Riquna Williams
C – 41 Kiah Stokes
G – 0 Jackie Young
G – 12 Chelsea Gray

Aces Injury Report:

Angel McCoughtry—Out, right ACL

Aces take game one of WNBA semifinals, 96-90

Las Vegas Aces guard Riquna Williams (2) lays up the ball during the second half of Game 1 in the semifinals of the WNBA playoffs against the Phoenix Mercury Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021, in Las Vegas. Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner (42) is at left. The Aces beat the Mercury 96-90. (AP Photo/Steve Marcus)


By Shawn McCullough

The Aces came off eight days rest and took game one of the WNBA semifinals in a 96-90 win over the Phoenix Mercury at the Michelob Ultra Arena.

“They [Aces] came focused today,” said head coach Bill Laimbeer. “If we can maintain the consistency in this series, it’s our game.”

Riquna Williams led the Aces with 26 points, while Kelsey Plum came off the bench and added 25.

“I took advantage of anything that they gave me and didn’t overthink,” said Williams on her career night.

“We bring consistency and energy off the bench,” said Plum. “We don’t care about the numbers. We care about how we can uplift our team.”

Chelsea Gray recorded a double-double, scoring 17 points and dishing out 12 assists.

“We [the Aces guards] were just taking what the defense gave us,” said Gray.

With the win, the Aces jump out to a 1-0 lead in the best of five semifinals series against the Mercury.

The Mercury made it to this series by beating the New York Liberty, 83-82, in the first round and by knocking off the Seattle Storm, 85-80, in the second round.

Las Vegas Aces – http://aces.wnba.com

Game Notes:

– The Aces shot 49.3% from the field.
– Las Vegas outrebounded the Mercury, 34-30.
– The Aces got 34 points off the bench.

Game Starters:

F – 22 A’ja Wilson
F – 3 Riquna Williams
C – 41 Kiah Stokes
G – 0 Jackie Young
G – 12 Chelsea Gray

Aces Injury Report:

Angel McCoughtry—Out, right ACL

Aces win regular season finale, 84-83

Monica D. Spencer/The Republic Brittney Griner of the Phoenix Mercury attempts to keep the ball from Las Vegas Aces’ Kiah Stokes during a Sept. 19, 2021 game at the Footprint Center.


By Shawn McCullough

The Aces got a late bucket from Jackie Young to beat the Mercury in Phoenix, 84-83.

Young grabbed a rebound off a Kelsey Plum miss and put it back with just 4.3 seconds left in the game to secure the win for Las Vegas.

Young finished the game with 10 points, while Plum came off the bench and scored a game high 23 points.

Liz Cambage played 9:31 and had four points with four rebounds after coming out of the health and safety protocol.

With the win, the Aces finished the regular season 24-8 and secured the double bye by finishing in second place in the standings.

The WNBA playoffs will begin on Thursday, September 23rd.

Las Vegas Aces – http://aces.wnba.com

Game Notes:

– The Aces shot 46.4% from the field.
– Each team pulled down 33 rebounds.
– Ten Aces players saw substantial minutes in a game that didn’t matter in the standings.

Game Starters:

F – 22 A’ja Wilson
F – 3 Riquna Williams
C – 41 Kiah Stokes
G – 0 Jackie Young
G – 12 Chelsea Gray

Aces Injury Report:

Angel McCoughtry—Out, right ACL

Aces secure playoff double bye with win over Sky, 103-70

LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 30: Riquna Williams (2) of the Las Vegas Aces seen playing the Los Angeles Sparks on June 30, 2021 at the L.A. Convention Center in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by John McCoy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)


By Shawn McCullough

The Aces rolled off a 34-17 second quarter enroute to a 103-70 blowout win over the Sky in Chicago.

“Tonight was one of our better games,” said head coach Bill Laimbeer. “We will take the win.”

With the win, the Aces secured the second seed going into the playoffs and a double bye.

“We haven’t done anything yet,” said Laimbeer. “We were expected to get the double bye.”

Six players scored in double figures including Riquna Williams, who scored a game high 22 points.

“Defense wins games,” said Williams on the Aces defense. “We need to just lock up and defend.”

A’ja Wilson recorded a double-double, scoring 14 points and pulling down 10 rebounds, while Kelsey Plum came off the bench and dropped 20.

“I was just trying to play free and be myself,” said Plum. “We knew that we had to bring up the intensity level.”

The Aces improved to 23-8 on the season heading into their final game of the regular season on Sunday in Phoenix against the Mercury.

Las Vegas Aces – http://aces.wnba.com

Game Notes:

– The Aces shot 56.2% from the field.
– Las Vegas was outrebounded by Dallas, 47-33.
– The Aces went 9 for 18 from three-point range.

Game Starters:

F – 22 A’ja Wilson
F – 3 Riquna Williams
C – 41 Kiah Stokes
G – 0 Jackie Young
G – 12 Chelsea Gray

Aces Injury Report:

Angel McCoughtry—Out, right ACL
Liz Cambage – Out, health and safety protocol

Aces rally to beat Wings, 85-75


By Shawn McCullough

Trailing by 12 at halftime, the Aces rallied in the second half to beat the Dallas Wings, 85-75, at ULTRA Arena.

Las Vegas took over in the third quarter, scoring 20 of the final 26 points in the quarter.

Kelsey Plum led the Aces with 30 points coming off the bench, going 5 for 7 from three-point range.

A’ja Wilson record a double-double, scoring 21 points and pulling down 12 rebounds, while Riquna Williams added 16.

With the win, the Aces improved to 22-8 on the season and sit two games behind the Connecticut Sun for first place.  Las Vegas is two games ahead of third place Minnesota with just two games remaining in the regular season.

The Aces will next play the Sky on Friday in Chicago.

Las Vegas Aces – http://aces.wnba.com

Game Notes:

  • The Aces shot 47.7% from the field.
  • Las Vegas was outrebounded by Dallas, 40-33.
  • The Aces scored 49 points in the second half.


Game Starters:

F – 22 A’ja Wilson
F – 3 Riquna Williams
C – 41 Kiah Stokes
G – 0 Jackie Young
G – 12 Chelsea Gray

Aces Injury Report:

Angel McCoughtry—Out, right ACL
Liz Cambage – Out, health and safety protocol

Aces roll over Lynx, 102-81

By Shawn McCullough

The Aces are looking to position themselves for the start of the playoffs in two weeks, coming out with a blowout win over the Minnesota Lynx, 102-81, at Michelob ULTRA Arena.

“This is one of our better games that we played consistently, start to finish,” said head coach Bill Laimbeer.  “It was an important win that gave us an opportunity to position ourselves for a double bye [in the playoffs], but we need to win two of the next three games.”

Jackie Young exploded for a career high 29 points and 10 rebounds, while forward A’ja Wilson added 20.

“I didn’t expect 29 points, but I will take it,” said Laimbeer about Young.

“It is just being aggressive from the start,” said Young.  “I just came out aggressive and was just trying to do a little bit more.”

Forward Chelsea Gray had a career high 14 assists in the game.

“We were just clicking on all cylinders,” said Gray.  “We were just moving the ball and being very efficient.”

With the win, the Aces improved to 21-8 on the season and sit 1.5 games behind the Connecticut Sun for first place.

The Aces will not play again until Monday against the Dallas Wings at Michelob ULTRA Arena.

Las Vegas Aces – http://aces.wnba.com

Game Notes:

  • The Aces shot 55.1% from the field.
  • Las Vegas limited their turnovers to just five.
  • The Aces scored 100 or more points for the sixth time this season.


Game Starters:

F – 22 A’ja Wilson
F – 3 Riquna Williams
C – 41 Kiah Stokes
G – 0 Jackie Young
G – 12 Chelsea Gray

Aces Injury Report:

Angel McCoughtry—Out, right ACL
Liz Cambage – Out, health and safety protocol

Aces fall to Sky, 92-84

Photo by Jeff Bottari/NBAE via Getty Images The Aces and Sky were expected to be two of the top teams in the WNBA this year.


By Shawn McCullough

The Aces struggled, shooting just 41.1% from the field, in a 92-84 loss to the Sky at Wintrust Arena in Chicago.

The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for the Aces.

Las Vegas got a game high 23 points from guard Kelsey Plum, as she went 7 for 16 from the field and 7 for 7 from the foul line.

Forward A’ja Wilson scored 18 points and pulled down 12 rebounds, while Riquna Williams added 14.

The Sky were led by guard Allie Quigley, who dropped 22 points.

With the loss, the Aces fell to 20-8 on the season and sit 1.5 games behind the Connecticut Sun for first place.

The Aces will next play at home on Wednesday against the 18-9 Minnesota Lynx with just four games remaining in the regular season.

Las Vegas Aces – http://aces.wnba.com

Game Notes:

  • The Sky shot 50.7% from the field.
  • Las Vegas outrebounded the Sky, 38-37.
  • A’ja Wilson and Kiah Stokes combined for 22 rebounds.


Game Starters:

F – 22 A’ja Wilson
F – 3 Riquna Williams
C – 41 Kiah Stokes
G – 0 Jackie Young
G – 12 Chelsea Gray

Aces Injury Report:

Angel McCoughtry—Out, right ACL
Dearica Hamby – Out, left ankle sprain
Liz Cambage – Out, health and safety protocol

Aces win third straight, beat Sky, 90-83

Las Vegas Aces forward A’ja Wilson (22) fights for control of the ball with Chicago Sky guard Allie Quigley (14) as Las Vegas Aces center Kiah Stokes (41) looks on behind them during the second half of a WNBA game at Michelob Ultra Arena on Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021, in Las Vegas. (Ellen Schmidt/Las Vegas Review-Journal)

By Shawn McCullough

The Aces returned home after a three-game road trip and beat the Chicago Sky, 90-83, at the Michelob Ultra Arena.

A’ja Wilson, Riquana Williams and Kelsey Plum each scored 21 points to lead the Aces.

Las Vegas was without their star center, Liz Cambage, as she tested positive for COVID-19, but is full vaccinated.

The Sky got a game high 30 points from forward Candace Parker, while she also pulled down 14 rebounds in the loss.

With the win, the Aces improved to 20-7 on the season and sit one game behind the Connecticut Sun for first place.

The Aces will next play the Sky again this time in Chicago on Sunday with just five games remaining in the regular season.

Las Vegas Aces – http://aces.wnba.com

Game Notes:

  • The Aces shot 45.2% from the field.
  • Las Vegas outrebounded the Sky, 39-32.
  • A’ja Wilson and Kiah Stokes combined for 23 rebounds.


Game Starters:

F – 22 A’ja Wilson
F – 3 Riquna Williams
C – 41 Kiah Stokes
G – 0 Jackie Young
G – 12 Chelsea Gray

Aces Injury Report:

Angel McCoughtry—Out, right ACL
Dearica Hamby – Out, left ankle sprain
Liz Cambage – Out, health and safety protocol

Aces blow out Fever, 87-71

Photo Credit: WNBA.com


By Shawn McCullough

The Aces ended their three-game road trip with a convincing 87-71 win over the Fever in Indiana.

“Today’s game was a trap game where it‘s the last game of the road trip and they are playing better as of late,” said head coach Bill Laimbeer. “I thought the starters took care of business.”

Las Vegas finished the three-game road trip 2-1.

“If you told me that we would be 2-1 on this road trip, I would be like ‘I want to be 3-0, but I would take 2-1’,” said Laimbeer.

The Aces had six players in double figures in scoring with Riquna Williams leading the way with 15 points.

“We had to redeem ourselves even after winning in Atlanta,” said Williams. “We didn’t look like ourselves.”

Kelsey Plum scored 14 points and dished out six assists, while Chelsea Gray and Jackie Young also added 13 each.

“We just had to lock in, cut out our turnovers and make defensive stops,” said Young on the win.

With the win, the Aces improved to 19-7 on the season heading home to face the Chicago Sky on Thursday at the Michelob Ultra Arena.

Las Vegas Aces – http://aces.wnba.com

Game Notes:

  • The Aces shot 48.4% from the field.
  • Las Vegas turned the ball over 16 times, while Indiana committed 15 turnovers.
  • Liz Cambage pulled down nine rebounds while adding 12 points.


Game Starters:

F – 22 A’ja Wilson
F – 3 Riquna Williams
C – 8 Liz Cambage
G – 0 Jackie Young
G – 12 Chelsea Gray

Aces Injury Report:

Angel McCoughtry—Out, right ACL
Dearica Hamby – Out, left ankle sprain

Aces with big second half, beat Dream, 78-71

Lass Vegas Aces center A’ja Wilson (22) shoots over Atlanta Dream center Elizabeth Williams (1) during their WNBA game on Thursday. CREDIT: Sam Morris/Las Vegas News Bureau

By Shawn McCullough

The Aces bounced back from a tough loss in Connecticut on Tuesday with a come from behind win over the Dream in Atlanta, 78-71.

The Aces trailed by eight at halftime, but rallied to outscore the Dream 38-23 in the second half.

“We turned the defense on [in the second half] and that won us the game,” said head coach Bill Laimbeer. “We need to come out at the start and play harder.”

After just four points on Tuesday night, A’ja Wilson dropped 21 points, pulled down 12 rebounds and dished out seven assists.

“Her overall game tonight was very solid,” said Laimbeer. “She knew that it was one of those strange occurrences [Tuesday night] and she needed to help the team tonight.”

“I don’t ever what to play like that again,” Wilson said about Tuesday night’s game. “I knew this game was very important for me and I am glad to have a game like this to showcase myself.”

Dearica Hamby came off the bench to score 20 points, while Liz Cambage added 17.

“Our feet were kind of in the mud in the first half, but a win is a win,” said Hamby.

With the win, the Aces improved to 18-7 on the season heading into their third straight game on the road with a game on Saturday in Indiana against the Fever.

Las Vegas Aces – http://aces.wnba.com

Game Notes:

  • The Aces held the Dream to just 36.1% from the field.
  • Las Vegas outrebounded Atlanta 43-34.
  • Injured guard Angel McCoughtry entered the game in the final seconds of the game to play in front of the fans that she played in front of for so many years.  McCoughtry will not play again this season while rehabbing from a right ACL injury.


Game Starters:

F – 22 A’ja Wilson
F – 3 Riquna Williams
C – 8 Liz Cambage
G – 0 Jackie Young
G – 12 Chelsea Gray

Aces Injury Report:

None