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FSM Essential Recap: Aces vs Wings – WNBA Playoffs Semifinals – Game 3 – 2023

Franchise Sports Media

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

 

The Las Vegas Aces are headed back to the WNBA Finals for the third time in four years thanks to their 64-61 Game 3 victory over the Dallas Wings. 

The Aces vs Wings played at the College Park Center on Friday.

Aces vs Wings | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: Cooper Neill/NBA Photos

The Las Vegas Aces completed their 3-0 sweep of the Dallas Wings, pushing the team’s postseason winning streak to six consecutive games. It’s the first time in franchise history that the Aces have had back-to-back finals appearances.

Four Aces players scored in double figures in this one, as Chelsea Gray led with 15 points (7-of-16 FGs), A’ja Wilson had a double-double of 13 points (4-of-10 FGs, 5-of-8 FTs) and 13 rebounds, and Kelsey Plum (4-of-12 FGs, 3-of-9 3s) and Jackie Young (3-of-10 FGs) added 11 points each. 

Wilson’s double-double (13 points, 13 rebounds) was her 15th career playoff double-double, which has her tied for seventh in WNBA playoff history.

The Aces handled business against the Wings 

I expected they were going to do something because she’s been on an absolute tear, and they made their adjustment,” Aces coach Becky Hammon said of Dallas’ play against Wilson. “Luckily for us, our defense, which is always the anchor, won us the game.”

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

Aces vs Wings | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: Cooper Neill/NBA Photos

For Dallas, Arike Ogunbowale had a game-high 18 points (8-of-24 FGs, 2-of-8 3s), Tearia McCowan put up 10 points (4-of-5 FGs), 15 rebounds, and three steals, and Natasha Howard totaled 14 points (5-of-12 FGs, 2-of-5 3s), eight rebounds, and two blocks.

They did an incredible, incredible job; our entire team did this series. Sometimes they fall in, and everyone’s loving it, and great, and sometimes they don’t,” first-year Wings coach Latricia Trammell said. “At least we were in position. So I was really proud of this team and what they’ve accomplished. I mean, (in the) preseason, we were not even supposed to make the playoffs.”

After a 6-0 run midway through the first quarter, the Aces were up seven, 15-8, as they made their first five shots of the game. However, Las Vegas did a complete turnaround and closed the quarter, missing nine of their next 11 field goal attempts. 

Dallas took advantage and went on to score 10 of the final 11 points to take the lead after the first period. All five starters scored for Las Vegas, led by Wilson, while three of Dallas’ players scored four apiece to lead the Wings.

Dallas then hit five straight to open the second quarter, expanding their scoring run to 15-1. However, back-to-back 3s helped Las Vegas pull to 23-22. The Aces then briefly regained the lead, 29-28, but the Wings closed the first half on an 8-2 run for a five-point halftime lead. 

The end of the Aces vs Wings first half. 

Ogunbowale scored eight points, including a pair of 3s in the final two minutes of the half, while Plum scored six for the Aces. Both teams shot an exact 6-of-16 from the field and hit three 3s.

The start of the Aces vs Wings second half. 

Aces vs Wings | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: Michael Gonzalez/NBA Photos

Heading into the third quarter, an 11-2 run gave Las Vegas a 42-38 lead. From there, Dallas scored the next five points, taking a 43-42 advantage. The two teams then swapped buckets until Dallas ended the quarter with the final basket and a two-point lead at the end of the third period. 

The Aces shot 40 percent from the field in the third stanza, and the Wings made just 30 percent of their field goal attempts.

In the final quarter, Gray tied the game at 51-51, but the Wings responded with a 10-2 run to go up eight (61-53) with 4:59 to play. In what was a back-and-forth affair, Las Vegas stepped up by closing this one out, scoring the final 11 points of the contest. 

In the last 4:59, the Aces shot 3-of-6 from the field and 4-of-6 from the charity stripe, while Dallas blinked, missing all 10 of their field goal attempts, including a desperation 3 with 0.4 seconds on the clock. 

In the final period, Las Vegas connected on 41.7 percent of their shots from the field while holding Dallas to just 21.1 percent.

The final score of the Aces vs Wings was 64-61.

The Las Vegas Aces will now head into the WNBA Finals after sweeping the Dallas Wings and will await the winner of the New York Liberty/Connecticut Sun series.

 

– Jake Ideguchi-Furukawa – Franchise Sports Media

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