Video Credit: WNBA

FSM Essential Recap: Aces vs. Sparks – Game 3

Franchise Sports Media

Las Vegas Aces (2-1) | Los Angeles Sparks (0-2)



The Las Vegas Aces returned home to Michelob Ultra Arena for the first time since 2019 and completed their home-opener in dominant fashion with a 97-69 win over the Los Angeles Sparks.




Aces vs Storm
Photo Credit: TSN Sports

Is it really Aces basketball if the opening shot doesn’t go to Liz Cambage? For the third time in three games, Cambage opened up the Aces’ scoring with a bucket near the rim. For the Sparks, in just their first game in nearly a week, veterans Kristi Toliver and Nneka Ogwumike got Los Angeles out of the gates to an early lead. The lead, and momentum, swung back and forth for the first half of the quarter until Las Vegas started to get out in transition. Former Spark, Chelsea Gray, was on the delivering end of a string of quick baskets. Pushing the tempo after turnovers and misses, she found her teammates’ running for layups before coming down in transition and calling her own number in the midrange. In the meantime, the Sparks’ offense grew stale as the Aces’ length made things uncomfortable in the paint. Dearica Hamby pitched in a quick six points as Vegas road momentum into a 25-20 lead heading into the second quarter.

The second quarter began similarly to how the first quarter closed, with the Aces locking in on the defensive end. Los Angeles settled for jump shot after jump shot as they failed to find their rhythm. For the Aces, rookie guard Destiny Slocum was key in extending the lead — she scored her first two baskets as a pro as she earned her first non-garbage-time minutes of the season. The length of Cambage, Wilson, and Ji-Su Park continued to make life difficult for the Sparks who were stuck in the mud until late in the quarter once Te’a Cooper put together a nice offensive sequence for L.A. — using her pump fake to drive the lane and deliver a pass to the corner for a Nneka Ogwumike three-pointer, followed by a catch-and-shoot three of her own from the wing to trim the lead to 20. It’d stay there for the final minute of the half, with the Aces taking a 56-36 lead into the break.

Aces vs Storm
Photo Credit: WNBA

Liz Cambage inadvertently delivered an elbow near the face of Sparks’ forward Chiney Ogwumike, and the following few minutes got increasingly more physical, as Cambage was hit with a technical foul after engaging back and forth with Brittney Sykes. The chippiness may have gotten the Sparks going a bit as they found some offense at the hands of Nneka Ogwumike and Te’a Cooper — trimming the deficit to 17. Yet, it was Gray who delivered a few more punches towards the end of the third by way of two jump shots, extending the Aces’ lead back over 20 points at the quarter’s conclusion.

Things didn’t get any better for the Sparks as the Vegas lead blossomed to 27 within just a few minutes. Both teams would pull mostly all of their starters shortly after, and from there, the game became a foul and turnover fest. Sparks’ rookie forward, Arella Guirantes, flashed a couple of nice offensive possessions — finishing with six points for the game — while Nia Coffey and Te’a Cooper also had some nice moments. But that was about as good as it would get for the visiting Sparks, and the game concluded with the Aces running away with a 97-69 in front of 1,972 fans.



The Aces picked up the tempo of this game midway through the first quarter, and they never looked back.

Transition – Something that stood out especially in this game was how frequently Las Vegas was pushing the pace — which you may not necessarily figure when you think of how they like to play slowly and methodically through the post. However, with every miss and every turnover, Chelsea Gray was pushing the ball and passing players into scoring position — something we’d seen for brief stretches in the second game against the Seattle Storm, but it was accentuated this game.

Slocum Impress – Kelsey Plum missed her first of many games as she represents Team USA in the 3×3 Olympic Qualifiers in Austria, so Destiny Slocum received an opportunity to fill in. If you hadn’t known that Slocum was a rookie playing her first meaningful minutes as a pro, it’d be hard to tell; she impressed as a passer — delivering lob passes over the top to Cambage as well dump-offs created from her dribble-drives, but she also looked comfortable as a scorer, too. With Plum slated to miss more games, this was a great first impression from the rookie. She finished with 6 points, 4 assists, and zero turnovers in 15 minutes,



Las Vegas dominated this game from the second quarter on, but they weren’t perfect. In fact, there were lots of mental errors and a lack of execution — especially in the second half. 

Turnovers — After their first two games, the Aces ranked first in the WNBA in turnovers committed per game at just 8.5. They’d finish game three of the season with 15, though 12 of them came in the second half and many in the fourth quarter while the reserves were in. Still, coach Laimbeer was “Disappointed in the second half” and didn’t like that number. We should expect a better performance in that area next game.


The Aces stay in Las Vegas for an afternoon contest this Sunday, May 23rd against the undefeated Connecticut Sun. Tune into Facebook, or MyLVTV at 3:00 p.m. to follow the action live, and remember to check back for the next recap.

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-Cole Huff– Franchise Sports Media

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