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FSM Essential Recap: Aces vs Wings – WNBA Playoffs Semifinals – Game 2 – 2023

Franchise Sports Media

Las Vegas Aces (34-6) | Dallas Wings (22-18)

 

A’ja Wilson led the way as the top-seeded Las Vegas Aces held on to defeat the fourth-seeded Dallas Wings 91-84 in Game 2 of the WNBA Semifinals.

The Aces vs Wings played at the Michelob ULTRA Arena on Tuesday.

Aces vs Wings | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

Behind a 30-point (10-of-18 FGs, 10-of-10 FTs), 11-rebound effort from A’ja Wilson, the Las Vegas Aces earned a 91-84 victory to improve to 2-0 over the Dallas Wings in the WNBA Semifinals

She plays her freakin’ heart out every single night on both ends,” Aces guard Chelsea Gray said of Wilson. “It’s a luxury to be able to play with somebody like her.”

At 5:57 in the first quarter, Wilson scored her first two points of the game to become the first player in WNBA history, combining regular season and playoff games, to score 1,000 points in a single year. She now has 1,028 points in 2023.

Wilson also became just the fourth player in the history of the league with more than 600 points, 300 rebounds, and 70 blocked shots in playoff games. The other three are Lisa Leslie, Candace Parker, and Brittney Griner.

Wilson’s 10-of-10 from the free throw line is the most made free throws with no misses in the playoffs in Las Vegas franchise history. 

The Aces handled business against the Wings 

A’ja was the most dominant player in the league this year, on the most dominant team, on the most dominant offense the league has ever seen with the No. 1 defense,” Las Vegas coach Becky Hammon said of Wilson being snubbed of the WNBA MVP award. “I don’t know what else the girl has to do.”

It was the start of the Aces vs Wings first half. 

Aces vs Wings | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

In addition to Wilson’s record-setting third-straight playoff game with 30+ points, four other Aces scored in double figures. Including Chelsea Gray with 23 points (10-of-17 FGs, 3-of-4 3s), Kelsey Plum with 18 points (4-of-10 FGs, 4-of-7 3s, 6-of-8 FTs), and Jackie Young chipped in 13 points (3-of-12 FGs, 1-of-8 3s, 6-of-7 FTs).

I think we do some things really well which pose problems for them, but it’s hard to simulate that kind of emotion that will be coming from a very angry (Wings) locker room,” Hammon said. “I don’t want us to be content. We still have a lot more work to do. We have a lot more basketball in front of us. I expect it to be an all-out war in Dallas.”

For Dallas, Arike Ogunbowale hit 6-of-13 from 3-point range to total 24 points for the Wings. Natasha Howard had 20 points (8-of-18 FGs, 2-of-4 3s), 10 rebounds, and two steals. Satou Sabally had 13 points (5-of-17 FGs, 1-of-4 3s), six rebounds, and three blocks. Teaira McCowan put up 12 points (4-of-9 FGs) and 10 rebounds.

The Aces struck first and went up 11-6 within the first four minutes of the game. With Dallas trailing 17-14, Gray hit a long-range 3 and Wilson converted on an and-1 to give Las Vegas their largest lead of the quarter, 23-14. The Aces netted 55.6 percent of their shots while their defense held the Wings to 30.4 percent shooting from the field.

The end of the Aces vs Wings first half. 

Heading into the second quarter, an initial bucket for the Aces put them up 28-18, however, the Wings brought it back to 31-24. Yet, Las Vegas countered with an 11-5 spurt that seemed to open up the game. 

The start of the Aces vs Wings second half. 

Aces vs Wings | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

Dallas managed to bounce back with back-to-back 3s from Ogunbowale in an 8-0 run before Kiah Stokes halted the Aces’ scoring drought for the final points of the half.  Las Vegas cooled to 41.2 percent in the quarter, while the Wings made 34.8 percent of their field goal attempts.

Dallas scored the first six points in the third quarter and their run expanded to 12-5 to even it up 49-49 at 7:49. Plum hit her first 3 of the game, sparking an 11-2 run for a 60-51 Las Vegas lead with 5:08 left in the quarter. 

The Aces slowly increased their lead and went up 13 at the end of the period. Las Vegas hit 50 percent of their shot attempts from the field and 50 percent from distance. Meanwhile, Dallas made 42.1 percent of their field goal attempts and 40 percent from behind the arc.

Las Vegas all of a sudden went cold, going 1-of-6 from the field to begin the fourth quarter, while Dallas hit five of their first 10 attempts in an 11-3 run over the first three minutes of the period, slicing the lead to 73-68. 

Plum drained a 3 at 6:18, followed by a Wilson jumper at 5:41 to momentarily disrupt Dallas’ momentum. 

With the Aces up 85-76, Dallas scored five straight to bring the score within four, 85-81, with 1:36 to play. However, the Wings missed a field goal and two shots from the line, while Wilson hit her next four free throw attempts to make it 89-81, and the Aces held on for the win. 

In the final frame, Dallas made 43.5 percent of their attempts from the floor and 45.5 percent from 3-point range while the Aces shot 37.5 percent from the field and 42.9 percent from afar.

The final score of the Aces vs Wings was, 91-84.

The Las Vegas Aces will now head into Game 3 against the Dallas Wings on Friday, September 29th, at the College Park Center at 6:30 p.m. PST.

 

– Jake Ideguchi-Furukawa – Franchise Sports Media

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