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Video Credit: WNBA

FSM Recap: Aces vs Mercury – Game 1 – 2024

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Las Vegas Aces (1-0)  |  Phoenix Mercury (0-1)

 

It was the Aces vs Mercury inside Michelob ULTRA Arena to get the 2024 WNBA season underway. The back-to-back champions received their rings and started the season with an 89-80 win over Phoenix.

 

Aces vs Mercury - Game 1 - 2024
Photo Credit: Trisha LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media

The back-to-back WNBA champion Las Vegas Aces were at home and got the 2024 WNBA season underway on Tuesday night against the Phoenix Mercury.

It was a ruckus sold-out crowd of 10,419 inside Michelob ULTRA Arena as the two-time WNBA champions raised their 2023 WNBA championship banner and received their championship rings. The crowd came away happy with an 89-80 win over the Mercury.

A’ja Wilson had 30 points and 13 rebounds for the Aces. Wilson’s double-double marked the 77th double-double of her career, which ranks fourth among active WNBA players. Jackie Young (23 points) and Kelsey Plum (19 points) also scored double figures for Las Vegas. Diana Taurasi led the Mercury with 23 points after shooting 7 of 11 from 3-point range.

The Aces were without the services of Chelsea Gray (lower left leg injury).

Las Vegas has now won 10 straight games against the Mercury, including playoff contests (May 6, 2022, to present).

The attendance mark of 10,419 is the largest crowd for an Aces game at Michelob ULTRA Arena. The Aces previously welcomed 10,348 fans to their house in a game against Los Angeles on Aug. 19, 2023.  The most attended game since arriving in Las Vegas was 17,406 in T-Mobile Arena on Sept. 10, 2023, against Phoenix.

 

Aces vs Mercury First Quarter:

 

Aces vs Mercury - Game 1 - 2024
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

Legendary scorer Diana Taurasi started the scoring with a three for the Mercury, followed by a layup from teammate Natasha Cloud. From there, the Aces‘ stifling defense took hold, preventing any more two-point shots from the Mercury for the remainder of the quarter. The Aces were cutting off driving lanes, helping off weak shooters, and suppressing a Phoenix offense capable of exploding.

Aja Wilson reasserted her dominance in the league with 17 first-quarter points, scoring both inside and outside the paint and collecting several rebounds. Kelsey Plum also looked comfortable, dishing out several assists and providing a steadying force with the ball in her hand.

After a couple of free throws from Megan Gustafson gave the Aces a comfortable 17-point lead, Taurasi hit another three to end the quarter to cut the lead to 14.

 

Aces vs Mercury 2nd Quarter:

 

Aces vs Mercury - Game 1 - 2024
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

The Aces‘ offense stumbled early in the second quarter and could not generate good shots apart from Plum’s trio of baskets. Taurasi caught fire, hitting a pair of threes to edge the Mercury closer. Her hot hand was contagious as her teammates started to step up and generate good looks. The Aces seemed visibly frustrated as their lead shrunk and went into halftime up 42-41.

It’s the first game of the season. It looked like it,Aces coach Becky Hammon said. “It’ll be all right, and we’ll smooth some things out.

We still have a lot of work to do,” Wilson said. “We still have a lot of things that we need to hone in on. My message (to the team) was I think we lost sight of it because it’s the first game.

 

Aces vs Mercury 3rd Quarter:

 

Aces vs Mercury - Game 1 - 2024
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

The Aces seemed considerably more focused as they came out of halftime with great energy. Jackie Young got it going by using her speed to ferociously attack the basket, scoring on a couple of drives before hitting a gorgeous three. However, Taurasi and Kahleah Copper responded with a barrage of three-pointers to keep the Mercury close.

At 6:06 in the third, Phoenix took their first lead of the game as Taurasi hit a tough three and led 56-54. Wilson asserted herself back into the game and got four free throws, and ultimately, Young hit a huge three to get the Aces back a lead they would not relinquish.

Plum closed the quarter with a pair of baskets that gave Vegas a 6-point lead going into the fourth quarter.

 

Aces vs Mercury 4th Quarter:

 

Aces vs Mercury - Game 1 - 2024
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

Jackie Young got the Aces going early in the fourth with aggressive drives to the rim and made 5/6 free throws. Remarkably, the free throw line was the team’s saving grace in the final period, as the Aces only made two field goals. The Aces relentlessly attacked the rim when jump shots were not falling and closed the game by making their free throws.

Late, Phoenix pulled within a single possession after a Rebecca Allen three to make it 83-80 with 1:17 to go. However, the Aces tightened things defensively and prevented Phoenix from scoring again for a final score of 89-80, beginning their quest for a three-peat with a win.

Vegas leveraged physicality to get to the free throw line and played good enough defense to overcome hot three-point shooting from Phoenix.

 

The Las Vegas Aces will take on the Los Angeles Sparks at Michelob Ultra Arena this Saturday. Tip-off is at noon. 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: @jasonkredlin

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