Video Credit: WNBA

FSM Recap: Aces vs Mercury – Game 3 – 2024

www.FranchiseSportsMedia.com

Las Vegas Aces (2-1)  |  Phoenix Mercury (2-1)

 

It was the Aces vs Mercury inside Michelob ULTRA Arena in the third game of the 2024 season. The back-to-back champions welcomed the Phoenix Mercury in their second meeting of the year. On a frustrating night, the Mercury defeated the home team and handed the Aces their first loss of the year, 98-88.

 

Aces vs Mercury - Game 3 - 2024
Photo Credit: Alon Sowell/Franchise Sports Media

The back-to-back WNBA champion Las Vegas Aces were at home against the Phoenix Mercury on Tuesday in a rematch from last week’s opening night victory against the Mercury for the Aces.

A crowd of 10,374 filled Michelob ULTRA Arena for the two-time WNBA champions’ third home game of the year. The Visiting Mercury handed the home team a rare home loss as the Aces seemed off all night, apart from a 4th quarter run late.

The Aces were led in scoring by Kelsey Plum, who went 7-14 from the 3-point line to end with 27 points for the night. Aja Wilson had a solid 21 points and Jackie Young chipped in 23. Kiah Stokes went 3-4 from the 3-point line for 11 points, but the rest of the team combined for only six total points.

Kahleah Copper was red hot and continued her blistering start to the season for the Phoenix Mercury, finishing with 37 points and leading her team to victory. The Mercury shot an efficient 16-33(48.5) from three as a team, moving the ball well in an excellent offensive performance.

The Aces continue to wait for Chelsea Gray’s return from her injury.

 

Aces vs Mercury First Quarter:

 

Aces vs Mercury - Game 3 - 2024
Photo Credit: Alon Sowell/Franchise Sports Media

The  Mercury struck first as Rebecca Allen hit a long 2pt jumper to put Phoenix on the board. Jackie Young responded with a long 2-point jumper to start a back-and-forth affair between the two teams in the first. Kahleah Copper began her explosive night for the Mercury with a nearly 30 foot 3 in the first of many makes for the night. Aja Wilson did her best to keep up with Copper’s hot shooting, with back-to-back tough shots in the paint, using her size and physicality to create space and finish at the rim.

With the score at 7-6, Kahleah Copper got ridiculously hot from the field, nailing two long 3-pointers and various tough shots at the rim to push the Phoenix lead to 22-12. The Aces kept their cool, and Kelsey Plum and Aja Wilson used a precise pick-and-roll attack to penetrate the defense and go on an 8-0 run and bring the score to 22-20 in favor of the Mercury. Phoenix split a pair of free from Sug Sutton and a layup from Liz Dixon, which gave the Mercury a 25-20 lead in a sloppy defensive first quarter for the home team.

 

Aces vs Mercury 2nd Quarter:

 

Aces vs Mercury - Game 3 - 2024
Photo Credit: Alon Sowell/Franchise Sports Media

The pace picked up in the second quarter as both teams loosened up from the sloppy first. Jackie Young got going with a nice shot from the midrange, then used her lightning-fast speed to pierce the defense and get to the rim twice, including a gorgeous and 1 to take the lead for the Aces. Sharpshooting legend Diana Taurasi got her first 3 of the night to take back the lead for Phoenix, but Kiah Stokes hit two rhythm threes, with Kelsey Plum also hitting a long ball off the dribble.

In a quarter with multiple lead changes, both teams traded jump shots, with Aja Wilson finally getting into a rhythm with a long-range 2.

The Aces won their first-half challenge with 4:45 to go, off a good defense on a driving Natasha Cloud layup, but Sophie Cunningham hit a tough three and split a pair of free throws to give the Mercury a 46-43 lead with just over a minute left in the first half. The Aces ended the first half with a fleury of offense as Aja Wilson hit a jump shot off a nice pass from Kelsey Plum, and Jackie Young dropped in 2 free throws to give the Aces a 1-point 47-46.

 

Aces vs Mercury 3rd Quarter:

 

Aces vs Mercury - Game 3 - 2024
Photo Credit: Alon Sowell/Franchise Sports Media

The Aces kept the good times going as Kelsey Plum hit two long 3-pointers to get started and extended the lead to 7. Rebecca Allen responded with a 3 of her own for Phoenix, but Aja Wilson hit a contested shot from 15 feet to get her second half underway. Back-to-back 3-pointers from Taurasi and Cloud tied the game as Phoenix flashed their offensive potential and seemed to frustrate the usually stout Vegas defense.

For most of the game, the home team seemed a step slow on their defensive rotations, and Coach Becky Hammon was clearly frustrated as Phoenix used crisp ball movement to create open looks.

At 5:00 left in the quarter, Rebecca Allen took the lead for the Mercury off a long 3, a lead Phoenix would never relinquish. Jackie Young dashed to the basket for her first score in a  Diana Taurasi hit another tough 3, and the Mercury eventually took a 73-68 lead with a layup from Natasha Cloud to end the quarter. The Aces guards, in particular, had a tough time getting to the rim as the Mercury cut off driving lanes, and it was ultimately a frustrating end to the quarter for the home team.

 

Aces vs Mercury 4th Quarter:

 

Aces vs Mercury - Game 3 - 2024
Photo Credit: Alon Sowell/Franchise Sports Media

The fourth quarter began with Kahleah Copper using muscle to get to the free-throw line and extend Phoenix’s lead. Alysha Clark hit a 3 in rhythm off a nice pass from Jackie Young to bring the Aces within four. However, what followed was likely the worst stretch of basketball yet for the back-to-back champs.

Phoenix went on a 13-2 run, as the Aces struggled to deal with physical defense and missed shots they would usually make at the rim. Kahleah Copper continued her excellent night and hit tough pull-up jump shots to extend the Phoenix lead. The run culminated with a pair of missed free throws from star Aja Wilson, who looked frustrated with herself and her team’s performance in the quarter.

The Aces could have folded and handed Phoenix a comfortable upset win. Still, they exploded, going on a 13-2 run of their own, culminating in a crazy Kelsey Plum 3 that brought the game to within 90-88, and Michelob Ultra Arena erupted. Phoenix called a timeout and set up a beautiful hammer action out-of-bounds play, which got Kahleah Copper a relatively easy shot at the rim to push the lead back to 4. Kelsey Plum and Jackie Young missed a pair of good looks from 3, ending the Aces‘ chances in the game.

It was a frustrating game for the Aces, as they struggled to rebound and defend the 3-point line in an arena where they are tough to beat. The ups and downs of the regular season can be tricky, and perhaps a game like this will help motivate a team with championship aspirations as they seek to win their third championship in a row.

The Aces will get a chance to get this bad taste out of their mouth this Saturday against rookie superstar Caitlin Clark in what is sure to be the most anticipated home game of the year. Expect a raucous sellout crowd to welcome the rookie to Vegas in a game that will draw a vast TV audience.

 

The Las Vegas Aces will take on the Indiana Fever at Michelob ULTRA Arena this Saturday. Tip-off is at 6:00 pm. The game will be televised 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

Follow The Franchise on social media

X

Instagram

Facebook

Subscribe to our Official YouTube Channel