Video Credit: WNBA

FSM Essential Recap: Aces vs Liberty – Game 36 – 2023

Franchise Sports Media

Las Vegas Aces (30-6) | New York Liberty (28-7)


The New York Liberty defeated the Las Vegas Aces, 94-85, making the race for the top seed tighten up.

The Aces vs Liberty played at the Barclays Center on Monday.

Aces vs Liberty | Franchise Sports Media | Chelsea Gray
Photo Credit: Evan Yu/NBA Photos

The New York Liberty’s win evened the season series with the Las Vegas Aces at two games apiece. If the Aces and Liberty finish the year tied atop the standings, the next tie-breaker would be their record against teams that finish the year at .500 or above.

(We’re) making sure that we’re all aware that every moment matters,” Liberty forward Breanna Stewart said. “We have to make sure we don’t miss opportunities. It’s the experience; it’s having been in these big moments in playoff-type situations and continuing to build off that.”

Sabrina Ionescu led New York with 25 points (8-of-14 FGs, 5-for-10 3s, 4-of-6 FTs) and two steals. Stewart added 20 points (9-of-23 FGs, 0-for-7 3s), 12 rebounds, seven assists, three steals, and two blocks.

“She’s not even supposed to get 10 3s off,” Aces head coach Becky Hammon said of Ionescu’s scoring performance. “That one before the half, I’m about to lose my mind. It’s inexcusable. It’s borderline negligence. And it’s somebody different all the time. It’s not just one person.

It wasn’t just one person giving Hammon a headache, as Liberty forward Betnijah Laney poured in 17 points (5-of-10 FGs, 0-for-2 3s, 7-of-8 FTs), six rebounds, and three assists, while Courtney Vandersloot also had 17 points (7-of-12 FGs, 2-for-6 3s), five rebounds, and ten assists.

The Liberty handled business against the Aces

The whole game, I felt pretty confident we had good control,” said Vandersloot. “After our slow start, we picked things up defensively and were scoring in transition. I think we had a really good grasp on the game the entire time.”

It was the start of the Aces vs Liberty first half. 

Aces vs Liberty | Franchise Sports Media | Jackie Young
Photo Credit: Evan Yu/NBA Photos

For the Aces, Jackie Young totaled 24 points (9-of-15 FGs, 4-for-6 3s), four rebounds, and five assists, while A’ja Wilson added 23 points (10-of-16 FGs, 3-of-4 FTs), eight rebounds, and four blocks, and Chelsea Gray had 16 points (3-of-13 FGs, 1-for-5 3s, 9-of-12 FTs), seven rebounds, and nine assists.

Young scored 20 or more points for the 14th time this season. She also reached double figures for the 35th time in 36 games, tying Kelsey Plum for the WNBA record for most double-digit games in a season.

Meanwhile, Wilson scored 20 or more points for the 25th time this season, which is the most by any player in the WNBA this season and the second most by any player in a season in WNBA history, with the most being 26 by Diana Taurasi in 2006 and 2008.

This was also the Aces’ 11th game since August 6, with no other team in the WNBA playing more than nine.

More than being home, getting some rest,” Hammon said. “This was our 11th game in 23 days. That’s two trips to the East coast. That’s a lot, plus a trip to the White House.”

Las Vegas started strong, scoring the first four points of the contest and 16 of the first 23 to take a nine-point lead with 3:59 to go in the quarter. 

The end of the Aces vs Liberty first half. 

However, the Aces committed four turnovers and missed 4-of-5 shots while the Liberty went 5-for-7 from the floor as New York closed the first period on a 15-3 run. Ionescu scored a high of 12 points in the quarter.

The start of the Aces vs Liberty second half. 

Aces vs Liberty | Franchise Sports Media | Kelsea Plum
Photo Credit: Evan Yu/NBA Photos

The Liberty then led 27-26 with 6:26 on the clock but extended their lead to double digits thanks to an 11-0 run. Las Vegas missed five shots during that stretch. Wilson and Gray were the only two members of the Aces to score in the second quarter. 

In that second period, Las Vegas went 5-of-15 from the field and 0-for-5 from beyond the arc, while the Liberty made 10-of-17 shots and 3-of-6 from 3-point range.

Both teams locked in defensively in the third quarter as the Aces made 7-of-18 shots from the field, and New York made just 7-of-19 shots.

New York led by as many as 17 points in the fourth quarter; however, Las Vegas was able to slice the lead below double digits late in the period but could not complete the comeback. 

The Aces made 12-of-21 shots in the period compared to 9-of-21 for the Liberty. Laney’s 10 points paced New York in the final quarter.

The final score of the Aces vs Liberty was 94-85, Liberty.

The Aces will now take on the Washington Mystics on Thursday, August 31, at 7:00 PM PST.


– Jake Ideguchi-Furukawa – Franchise Sports Media

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