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FSM Essential Recap: Aces vs. Liberty – Game 9

Franchise Sports Media

Las Vegas Aces (6-3) | New York Liberty (5-3)

 

 

After a tough loss on Tuesday night in Connecticut, the Las Vegas Aces bounced back with an impressive double-digit road win on Thursday over the New York Liberty.

 

RECAP:

 

Aces vs Liberty
Photo Credit: WNBA

The Aces entered their matchup with the Liberty as the WNBA’s best in terms of points in the paint per game, which was a complete 180 of where the New York defense stood — giving up the second-most paint points. Naturally, the Aces attacked the inside early. They converted on their first six shot attempts of the game, with each possession having gone through a post player. Las Vegas built up an early 14-5 lead before New York’s Betnijah Laney scored twice to cut the deficit to just five points. Sami Whitcomb made her way to the rim a couple of times to help the Liberty out, but Chelsea Gray and A’ja Wilson kept the Aces humming offensively. Gray capped off the quarter with one of her signature hesi-pull-up jumpers from the mid-range to give Vegas a 30-16 lead over New York at the end of the first quarter.

Liz Cambage, Dearica Hamby, and A’ja Wilson continued to attack the Liberty’s inferior perimeter defense, and they scored 11 of the Aces’ first 12 points in the second quarter. New York trailed by as many as 19 points in the quarter until Rebecca Allen caught fire. She scored 14 points in a row for the Liberty as they put together a 19-4 run to make it just a seven-point game. The Vegas lead would dwindle to as little as four points, but the Liberty grew cold on offense as the Aces would push the lead back to eight by the end of the half. Las Vegas led 52-44 after the second.

Both teams kept the game fun for viewers as the tempo and pace kept moving faster. Sabrina Ionescu struggled with her shot but competed on the glass and kept her teammates involved. Sami Whitcomb and Betnijah Laney did most of the damage for the Liberty, while A’ja Wilson dominated for Vegas. Wilson scored 10 points in the quarter and looked unstoppable from all areas of the court offensively. Kiah Stokes and

Aces vs Liberty
Photo Credit: Las Vegas Aces

Betnijah Laney provided a few points towards the end of the frame before Dearica Hamby ended the quarter with three free throws — keeping the Aces’ lead at eight, heading into the fourth.

The offenses finally died for a bit, and it took three quarters to do it. The Aces survived solely on three Dearcia Hamby free throws for the first five minutes of the quarter until Liz Cambage finally gave Vegas their first field goal of the quarter. Betnijah Laney answered with four quick points of her own as the Aces’ lead shrunk to just a point with four minutes to play. But A’ja Wilson helped push the game to 88-80 with two minutes to go, and the Liberty would score just three points over the final four minutes of play. The Aces finished the game on a 14-3 run to beat the Liberty 94-82.

 

 

 

POSITIVES:

Aces vs Liberty
Photo Credit: Las Vegas Aces

Points in the Paint – The Aces knew that they had the advantage inside, and they went to it early and often. Liz Cambage, A’ja Wilson, and Dearica Hamby combined to score 55 points while getting plenty of production in the paint.

Defense – New York was held to just 30 percent from the three-point line and made just nine on the night. Meanwhile, the Aces kept Sabrina Ionescu in check too. She scored just five points on 2-13 shooting.

 

 

 

 

NEGATIVES:

Not Putting Out the Fire – The Aces were up 19 at one point in the seconds quarter, but the lead shrunk to as little as four points due to Vegas not being able to stop Rebecca Allen. Allen had a run where she scored 14 straight points for the Liberty while they were on a 19-4 run.

 

 

Turnovers – Connecticut scored 74 points in this game, and 23 of them were from Vegas turnovers. Even though 13 turnovers wasn’t awful, the timing of them was quite bad. Vegas failed to execute offensively for parts of the fourth quarter, and it really hurt them. When you piece together all of the reasons why the Aces couldn’t get over the hump, turnovers are a big part of it.

 

 

 

The Aces end their three-game on Saturday, June 5th as they take on the Washington Mystics. Tune into  ABC at 10:00 a.m. to follow the action live, and remember to check back for the next recap.

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-Cole Huff– Franchise Sports Media

Follow Cole on Twitter @ColeHoops

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