Video Credit: WNBA

FSM Essential Recap: Aces vs. Mercury – Game 5

Franchise Sports Media

Las Vegas Aces (3-2) | Phoenix Mercury (2-3)



Las Vegas traveled to Phoenix and earned their second road win of the season, defeating the Mercury 85-79 behind Jackie Young’s career-high 27 points.




Wednesday night’s first-quarter between the Las Vegas Aces and Phoenix Mercury sped by quickly, with just one timeout break throughout the quarter. For the Aces, A’ja

Wilson got the team off to a fast start offensively, taking the usual opening basket from her teammate, Liz Cambage, before scoring a couple of low-post baskets and layups at the rim. The Mercury’s Brittney Griner had similar success scoring the ball, with her combination of length and touch helping produce nine first-quarter points. Las Vegas held a minimal lead throughout the quarter until a series of mid-range jumpers by Phoenix tied the game at 20 to end the quarter.

Aces vs Mercury
Photo Credit: WNBA

Jackie Young opened the second with a pull-up middy on the left side of the court, which was followed by a wing three-pointer by rookie guard Destiny Slocum. A scary chest injury to Griner momentarily paused the action and forced her to exit the game. However, she returned a few possessions later and quickly put in two shots — a mid-range jumper, and a layup on the left side of the rim — to inch Phoenix closer.

That’s when Young responded with an and-one, and Wilson with a 12-footer — courtesy of a behind-the-back pass from Chelsea Gray. But Megan Walker’s transition basket — the first fastbreak points of the game for the Mercury — and a 21-foot jumper by newly activated Kia Vaughn trimmed the Aces’ 7-point lead down to 1 as the half ended. Las Vegas led 45-44.

Phoenix tightened up the defense coming out of the break as they forced Vegas into two turnovers and blocked two shots. Jackie Young’s mid-range jumper got the Aces’ offense on track, and then she found her way to the rim for another and-one.

The pace picked up quite a bit from that point with both defenses unable to stop the other’s offense — more specifically, Young and the Mercury’s Shey Peddy got into a shootout. Young tuned up Phoenix by way of the middy, while Peddy scored at all three levels. Riquna Williams nailed a late three during the quarter to help bump the Aces’ lead to four, but the hot-handed Peddy responded with a 17-foot pull-up. Vegas clung to a 67-65 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Young and Peddy picked up exactly where they left things in the third quarter by opening up the scoring for their respective teams. The Aces’ offense stalled a bit, though, and Phoenix’s length was a big reason why. Griner walled up in the post and forced Liz Cambage into an awkward turnover, and then Brianna Turner denied Gray at the rim for her fourth block of the night. Yet, the Vegas offense awoke late in the game. Gray nailed two jumpers and Dearica Hamby got to the rim twice for layups — each time giving the Aces a one-point lead on separate occasions. After being fouled while shooting a three-pointer, Williams knocked down all three to extend the Aces lead to 83-79 with 35 seconds to play. Liz Cambage stuffed a reverse layup attempt from Phoenix’s Shey Peddy to put the exclamation mark on their 85-79 victory.




Aces vs Mercury
Photo Credit: Las Vegas Aces

Neither team ever had control of this game and it was closely contested throughout. Still, the Aces checked some necessary boxes along the way.

Second Chances – Coming into the night, the Phoenix Mercury was giving up the most (18.5) second-chance points of any team in the WNBA tonight. Coach Laimbeer mentioned before the game how he would be looking for his team to take advantage of that specific Phoenix weakness, so he has to be happy with the result — 11 offensive rebounds, including one a huge putback at the end of the game from Hamby to give the Aces a one-point lead.

Turnovers – Two consecutive bad-turnover games were offset last night with Las Vegas only limiting themselves to just nine. In a six-point win that was decided in the final minute, it was important to take care of the ball and have those extra possessions to generate more scoring opportunities.





Looking back on the film of this game, the Aces are going to tune some things up going forward. Here’s one:

Three-Pointers – Perimeter shooting was the priority over the offseason as the Aces needed to address some lack of three-point shooting. While they’ve been okay over the first part of the season, Vegas only went 4-16 against the Mercury on Wednesday.



The Aces return home to face the Indiana Fever on Friday, May 28th. Follow the action live on Twitter, or My LVTV at 7:30 p.m., and remember to check back for the next recap.

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-Cole Huff– Franchise Sports Media

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