Video Credit: WNBA

FSM Recap: Aces vs Liberty – Game 10 – 2024

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Las Vegas Aces (6-6)  |  New York Liberty (12-2)

 

It was the Aces vs The Liberty at Michelob Ultra Arena in the latest installment of their rivalry on Saturday. The Liberty beat the Aces convincingly with hot three-point shooting as Vegas continues struggling this month 90-82. 

 

Aces vs Liberty - Game 12 | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

The back-to-back WNBA champion Las Vegas Aces were back on their home floor to take on the rival New York Liberty, whom Vegas defeated in the WNBA finals last year. The Aces have been struggling this month, particularly on the defensive side of the ball, and their defensive woes continued as the Liberty came to Michelob Ultra Arena left victorious.

Emotions are high for the Aces, whose frustrations are starting to show up in their comments to the media. The players and coaches are not performing at a championship level, and they know it. Aja Wilson, in particular, has been performing very well individually yet is unsatisfied with her accolades; she wants team success above all else,

Kelsey Plum led the Aces in scoring with 22 points, which was her best performance in several weeks. Aja Wilson had another excellent game with 22 points, and Alysha Clark had an efficient 13 points. The biggest issues for the Aces were on the defensive side of the ball. The Liberty shot 48% from the floor and hit twelve three-pointers. The Aces couldn’t contain the Liberty players off the dribble, leading to constant defensive breakdowns.

The Liberty were led by Jonquel Jones, who had 34 points and eight rebounds in a huge game. Jones often attacked Aja Wilson and created scoring opportunities for her teammates.

Chelsea Gray continues to be listed as questionable on the injury report. Her looming return will be huge for a Vegas team that badly needs a shot in the arm.

 

Aces vs Liberty First Quarter:

 

Aces vs Liberty - Game 12 | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

Aja Wilson got the Aces in the scoring column with a mid-range two-point shot off an assist from Kiah Stokes. Alysha Clark and Jackie Young streaked to the rim for scores in transition to establish a 6-0 lead for Vegas early in the game. Jonquel Jones got her first basket of the night for the Liberty with a three-pointer created by Sabrina Ionescu, who broke down the Vegas defense with dribble penetration.

On the next several possessions, the teams traded baskets until Jonquel Jones went on a personal 7-3 run to put the Liberty ahead 22-14.

Aja Wilson and Alysha Clark responded to the Liberty run with pull-up jump shots. Still, Betnijah Laney-Hamilton and Sabrina Ionescu hit back-to-back long three-pointers to keep the Liberty in front. The Ionescu three, in particular, was from thirty-plus feet and a serious shift in the game’s momentum. The Liberty ended the first up 30-22 over the Aces.

 

Aces vs Mercury 2nd Quarter:

 

Aces vs Liberty - Game 12 | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

Sydney Colson gave the Aces some much-needed scoring off the bench as she drove to the basket, created a contact for a couple of free throws, and then hit a long three off an assist from Kate Martin. After a mid-range jump shot from Kelsey Plum, the score was 30-27, and the Liberty called timeout.

Out of the timeout, Kelsey Plum hit a tough step-back three to tie the game at 30, but Sabrina Ionescu quickly knocked down another New York three to put the Liberty back in front.

Aja Wilson and Kelsey Plum led the charge of a balanced Aces offense for the remainder of the quarter, scoring efficiently. Jackie Young also had her best stretch of the game, hitting step-back jumpers and slashing her way to the rim. Ultimately, the Liberty took a slim two-point lead into the locker room at halftime, 45-43.

 

Aces vs Mercury 3rd Quarter:

 

Aces vs Liberty - Game 12 | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: Trisha LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media

Aja Wilson scored back-to-back baskets, and Alysha Clark nailed a three off an assist from Kelsey Plum to put the Aces back in front to start the second half. After a mid-range jump shot from Kelsey Plum gave the Aces their largest lead of the night at 53-47, the Liberty called timeout to adjust to the ferocious Vegas start.

Out of the timeout, the Liberty went on an 11-0 run to snatch the lead, primarily at the hands of Jonquel Jones, who muscled her way to the rim and finished with power. A Kate Martin three finally ended the run, and Aja Wilson scored at the rim to cut the Liberty lead to only three at 61-58.

However, the Liberty ended the quarter on a 6-2 run started by an Ivana Dorkic three-pointer that gave New York a. 67-60 lead at the end of the third quarter. Third quarters have been an issue for the Aces all year, as teams have come out of halftime with energy and taken control of games.

 

Aces vs Mercury 4th Quarter:

 

Aces vs Liberty - Game 12 | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: Trisha LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media

Both teams struggled to score out of the gate in the fourth, missing easy shots at the rim and failing to generate good looks. Leonie Fiebech hit a big three with just over eight minutes to push the lead to 70-60, and Coach Becky Hammon called timeout as she was visibly frustrated with her team’s offense. Out of the timeout, things looked promising as the team ran a beautiful set to get Kelsey Plum an easy score at the rim. After the teams traded baskets, another Leonie Fiebich three-pointer got the lead to double digits again at 77-66.

At this point in the game, the Aces looked exhausted, and that exhaustion started to show itself on the defensive side of the ball, where they were failing to contain the New York guards, were put in awkward positions, and forced to foul to stop easy baskets. New York responded by calmly knocking down free throws and hitting open three-pointers. With just under three minutes to go, Jonquel Jones hit a long three to make the score 86-68 and effectively end the game. Coach Hammon waived the white flag and subbed out her starters with two minutes to play, resulting in a 90-82 loss to the rival Liberty.

The Aces have three evident problems in my eyes. First, they don’t have great depth. The Aces rely on players like rookie Kate Martin to score, and often, their bench doesn’t support their stars, making it difficult to keep up with teams. Second, they struggle to defend the three-point line, often giving easy looks to opposing teams. Third, after back-to-back championships, being motivated to play at one hundred percent effort night after night is tough, particularly on the defensive end.

One thing is clear: this Aces team needs to dig deep and hope that Chelsea Gray’s looming return will give them the energy to complete their goal of winning a “three-peat.”

The Las Vegas Aces will take on the Seattle Storm at Michelob Ultra Arena on Wednesday, June 19. Tip-off is at 8:00 pm, and the game will be on NBA TV. Thank you for visiting FranchiseSportsMedia.com for your Las Vegas Sports news.

 

Franchise Sports Media. Las Vegas sports news about Las Vegas Sports teams.

– Jason Kelly – Franchise Sports Media

Follow Jason on all social media: @jasonkredline

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