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FSM Recap: Aces vs Storm – Game 8 – 2024

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Las Vegas Aces (5-3)  |  Dallas Wings (7-3)

 

It was the Aces vs Storm at Michelob Ultra Arena in the eighth game of the 2024 season, and the second in the Commissioners Cup. In their first game home after their road trip, the Aces looked tired and out of sorts in a disappointing 78-65 loss. 

 

Aces vs Storm - Game 8 - 2024 | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: Trisha LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media

The back-to-back WNBA champion Las Vegas Aces returned home from their cross-country road trip out of rhythm and with tired legs, and it showed on the court as the Aces fell in their second home loss. It was a miserable night for most of the team on offense as the Aces shot a paltry 30% from the field. Outside of Kelsey Plum and Aja Wilson, the rest of the Aces shot 6-30 for 20% from the field.

Jackie Young, in particular, had a brutal game as she was 1-12 from the field. She’s been dealing with an illness and has been questionable in recent contests, and last night it seemed to catch up to her.

Aja Wilson and Kelsey Plum did everything they could to keep their team in the game, but even they had less efficient nights than usual. The Aces were also killed on the glass, a place where they are usually dominant, losing 43-36. Oftentimes over the last 2 years, the Aces have felt invincible, but so far this year that has not been the case.

The Storm didn’t have a dominant offensive night either, but created second chance points and got to the FT line. Alongside a good defensive effort, that was enough for Seattle to come into Vegas and steal a game.

The Storm were led by Skylar Diggins and Jewell Loyd who had 25 and 21 points respectively. It was a solid game for the Storm, who continue to flash potential as a playoff nemesis in a few months.

 

Aces vs Wings First Quarter:

 

Aces vs Storm - Game 8 - 2024 | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: Trisha LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media

Alysha Clark got the Aces on the board with a drive to the basket, but Ezi Magbegor cut to the basket and received a nice pass from Nneka Ogwumike for the Storm to respond. Aja Wilson made her first shot of the night from mid range, but Skylar Diggins came right back and hit a mid-range shot off a tight contest.

From there, both teams went cold from the field without a field goal for the following two minutes. Jackie Young then hit an incredible step-back jumper right in front of the 3-point line. It looked like it could be the beginning of a promising game from Young, but that shot would be the only one that she would make all night.

Jewel Lloyd made back-to-back jumpers for the Storm, followed by a long 3 from Nneka Ogwumike to stretch the Seattle lead to 15-7. Becky Hammon called a time-out to stall the Storm run, and out of the break, the Aces defense started to hold Seattle to inefficient jump shots. Kelsey Plum and Megan Gustafson hit back-to-back 3s, then Plum hit a very difficult transition shot from behind the 3-point line. The teams both missed shots to end the quarter as players on both sides continued to travel and turn the ball over.

 

Aces vs Wings 2nd Quarter:

 

Aces vs Storm - Game 8 - 2024 | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: Trisha LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media

Kelsey Plum put the Aces in front early in the second with a floater in the lane plus a foul. Jewell Lloyd and Plum then traded 3-point baskets as Aja Wilson came off the bench with the game tied. At this point in the game, the Aces offense completely stalled, unable to generate easy shots or penetrate the Seattle defense. Kelsey Plum had issues with the Storm’s size, and Jackie Young was unable to finish over defenders. Oguwimike and Lloyd got to the free-throw line to extend the Seattle lead to 36-26.

For the remainder of the quarter, both teams struggled to finish inside and the game completely lost its rhythm. Outside of a Kelsey Plum floater, neither team was able to score. The Aces struggled mightily as their role players failed to connect from the floor.

Wilson and Plum started to miss shots they would normally make, and it was easily one of the worst quarters of the Aces season.

 

Aces vs Wings 3rd Quarter:

 

Aces vs Storm - Game 8 - 2024 | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: Trisha LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media

Skylar Diggins connected early with a jump shot over a contest from Aja Wilson. Wilson used her physicality to get to the rim and drew fouls, scoring the first two points for the Aces in the second half. The Aces started to have even more problems holding onto the ball, making bad passes, and turning the ball over constantly. In particular, it was a rough game from Alysha Clark, who wasn’t making great decisions and couldn’t get into any sort of rhythm.

Tiffany Hayes finally got the Aces out of their funk by hitting a 3 off a Kiah Stokes pass. From there, however, both teams began to struggle offensively. It was Aja Wilson who finally seemed to will Vegas back into the game, with back-to-back tough shots.

However, Wilson failed to get to the rim all night and relied on tough jumpers to score. With the score at 48-44, the Aces seemed primed to get control of the game. However, despite free throws from Aja Wilson and a three for Alysha Clark, Seattle was able to hold Vegas back as the 3rd ended 54-51.

 

Aces vs Wings 4th Quarter:

 

Aces vs Storm - Game 8 - 2024 | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: Trisha LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media

When Coach Hammon discusses with her team what happened in this game, perhaps it would be wise to burn the tape of the 4th quarter, put it in a rocket, and launch it into space. The 4th was a disaster, to say the least. While Wilson and Plum had been able to keep pace with a confident Seattle team in the first three quarters, in the final period fatigue and frustration seemed to catch up with them. Things looked promising early, with Kate Martin providing a basket off the bench and pulling the Aces within one. Aja Wilson was able to get to the line and keep the Aces within a single possession, but from there everything went downhill.

The Storm ended the game on a 15-5 run and the Aces failed to get themselves back into the game. Skylar Diggins, in particular, was excellent and the Aces were simply unable to generate the offense needed to stay in the game. It was a stark reminder of the absence of Chelsea Gray that still looms over this team. Without Gray, the Aces are not deep and if any one of Young, Plum or Wilson is off, the Aces are not likely to win.

Frankly, as back to back champs a few regular season losses don’t mean much to Vegas. The Aces have nothing to prove, but the WNBA is deeper than ever this year and the Aces will need to win more to secure a good position in the playoffs. Every night in this league, every team the Aces play has one of their biggest games of the year, but for Aja Wilson and the rest of the team it’s just another game. It’s tough to be the back-to-back champs, but Hammon and Wilson are the best for a reason.

With a short turnaround before they travel to L.A. on Sunday, we shall see how they respond to adversity.

 

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.

 

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– Jason Kelly – Franchise Sports Media

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