Video Credit: L.A. Sparks

FSM Recap: Aces vs Sparks – Game 9 – 2024

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Las Vegas Aces (5-4)  |  Los Angeles Sparks (4-7)

 

It was the Aces vs Sparks in Crypto.com arena in Los Angeles

 

Aces vs Sparks - Game 9 | Franchise Sport Media
Photo Credit: Trisha LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media

The back-to-back WNBA champion Las Vegas Aces were right back on the road as they traveled to Los Angeles for a rematch against the Los Angeles Sparks at Crypto.com Arena. The Aces got off to a scorching start in the game, but their lack of depth hurt them with Chelsea Gray and Jackie Young out. Aja Wilson was her usual dominant self with 31 points 10-17, and Kelsey Plum had 24 points on 7-22 shooting. Plum has been shooting well from 3 but struggles to score inside the arc.

Plum isn’t an overly athletic player and doesn’t have a ton of size. She works best as a shooter and a distributor, but without Chelsea Gray and Jackie Young, Plum is being asked to do things offensively that just don’t play to her strengths. Ultimately, this was the recipe for a 96-92 loss in Los Angeles.

The Sparks were led by Dearica Hamby and Rickea Jackson, who had 18 and 16 points, respectively. They also got 16 points off the bench for Aari McDonald. The Sparks are a young team, and this win certainly means a lot to them as their players develop.

 

Aces vs Sparks First Quarter:

 

Aces vs Sparks - Game 9 | Franchise Sport Media
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

Aja Wilson started the game with a mid-range shot to start a fantastic night for her. Then Kelsey Plum broke down the defense and got Wilson another tough, nice shot from the middle of the paint. The Aces were furious about their home loss to the Storm and took it out on the Sparks as Kelsey Plum followed up Wilson with a long 3 of her own. In her first career start, Kate Martin hit a rhythm three off an assist from Kelsey Plum to extend the Vegas lead to 11-0. Kelsey Plum then hit one of the most impressive shots I’ve seen all year, with a running 3-pointer that had the LA crowd shook.

Dearica Hamby finally got the Sparks on the board with a cut to the basket and a score, but Kelsey Plum came right back and drove to the rim to make the score 16-2. With the Sparks on the ropes, Aari McDonald made a long three off a pass from Lexie Brown. The three seemed to energize the Spark’s defense as they tightened up, particularly their coverage of Aja Wilson. Kate Martin hit her second 3 of the night, but Lexie Brown made a three from nearly 30 feet to respond.

The teams then started to trade baskets, as Dearica Hamby and Aja Wilson traded shots at the rim to make the score 24-14. The game got more physical as both teams were sent to the line, and Aari McDonald, in particular, drew contact and made four straight FTs to pull the Sparks to only down six at 26-21 to end the quarter. It was a disappointing end to the quarter as the Aces started to run out of gas a little bit.

 

Aces vs Sparks 2nd Quarter:

 

Aces vs Sparks - Game 9 | Franchise Sport Media
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

Aari McDonald hit a long 3 to start the quarter for the Sparks and make it a one-possession game. Aja Wilson returned and made a driving layup for her first basket of the quarter. The hot 3-point shooting from the Sparks kept up as Lexie Brown hit a long one to bring the Sparks to within one at 28-27. Rookie star Cameron Brink tied the game up with a free throw at 28, and Rickea Jackson made a 2-point shot at the rim to give the Sparks their first lead of the night, 30-28.

Aja Wilson tied the game at 30 with a layup at the rim, and the Aces got some much-needed scoring from Tiffany Hayes to take the lead back.

For the rest of the quarter, the scoring was largely back-and-forth between the two teams, with Cameron Brink stepping out and hitting a rare jump shot from the midrange and Aja Wilson taking over offensively. Again, the bench supported Wilson, with Tiffany Hayes and Kate Martin hitting a pair of 3s. Dearica Hamby led the charge for the Sparks as the tight first half ended with the Aces clinging to a one-point lead.

 

Aces vs Sparks 3rd Quarter:

 

Aces vs Sparks - Game 9 | Franchise Sport Media
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

On the first play of the third, Kiah Stokes fouled Layshia Clarendon and gave the Sparks 3 free points at the line to take a 46-44 lead. It was a sign of bad things to come in the quarter. After Kelsey Plum hit a pair of FTs, Dearica Hamby hit a long 3 to extend the Los Angeles 49-46. At this point in the quarter, the Aces offense stalled a bit; outside of some bailout shots from Kelsey Plum, they couldn’t generate offense as Brink and the Sparks tried to take Aja Wilson out of the game.

Aja Wilson did everything she could to keep pace in the game, with tough shots inside and a couple of FTs. Wilson was also hip-checked and shaken up, taking a long time to get off the floor. An extremely rare three from Cameron Brink was an insult to injury as the Sparks pushed their lead to 1- at 67-57. A 4-0 run for Tiffany Hayes sparked the Aces offense, making it only a 4-point deficit at 65-69.

However, the end of the quarter was an unmitigated disaster, as both Aja Wilson and Coach Becky Hammon got slapped with technical fouls, giving the Sparks 3 free points to end the quarter and give Los Angeles a 74-65 lead.

 

Aces vs Sparks 4th Quarter:

 

Aces vs Sparks - Game 9 | Franchise Sport Media
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

The Aces came out much more focused than in the third, with Aja Wilson being assertive early and earning 2 FTs. Kelsey Plum followed Wilson’s lead, drew contact, and hit a pair for FTs. Tiffany Hayes kept up her solid night with a quick drive to the basket, but Stephanie Talbot made a long 3 to keep the Aces at bay. Tiffany Hayes made back-to-back shots at the rim to pull the Aces within one and erase the Los Angeles lead. On the Aces, next trip down, Kelsey Plum hit a three and a pair of FTs to give the Aces a 4pt 82-78 lead and seemingly give Vegas control of the game.

Rae Burrell then hit back-to-back 3s to flip the game’s script and give the Sparks a 4-point lead. Aja Wilson came right back and hit an impossibly tough jump shot to keep pace and bring the Aces to only trailing by two at 86-88. Rickea Jackson responded, hitting tough shots and keeping the Aces down by 4. With 23 seconds left, Coach Hammon got called for a technical foul after she voiced some displeasure with the officiating and was ejected in a frustrating night for the coaching staff.

Alysha Clark hit a 3 with one second left to pull the game to 92-94, but the game was essentially over, and the Aces dropped their fourth game of the year. Obviously, the Aces will struggle without Jackie Young and Chelsea Gray, but failing to beat this Los Angeles team is troubling. Aja Wilson is doing all she can, but Kelsey Plums’ efficiency is lacking, and the team is just mediocre at the moment.

The back-to-back champions certainly aren’t going to be pleased with mediocrity, nor should they be. The WNBA is tough, and winning their third ring in a row will not be easy.

 

The Las Vegas Aces will take on the Los Angeles Sparks at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles on June 9th. Tip-off is at 6:00 pm. 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

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