Aces clinch playoff spot after knocking off the Dream

Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports

The Las Vegas Aces clinched a playoff spot after defeating the Atlanta Dream 93-72, keeping them undefeated at home.

LAS VEGAS — The Las Vegas Aces improve to 24-2 on the season after defeating the Atlanta Dream, 93-72.

The Aces continued their winning ways defeating the Dream 93-72 to stay undefeated at home. Jackie Young led the Aces with 24 points, A’ja Wilson had 20 points, Kierstan Bell added 15 points and Kelsey Plum had 14.

Cheyenne Parker led the Dream with 19 points, followed by Nia Coffey with 14 points, Allisha Gray added 8 points.

The Aces would start off the game where they left off last game shooting a blistering 63% from the field at the half leading by 12 points. Jackie Young took control in the second quarter, scoring 14 of her 24 points. Atlanta trimmed the lead to single digits with 9:36 left in the fourth quarter before the Aces went on a 14-3 run to increase the lead to 22 points and put the game away. The Aces fourth quarter defense would allow them to run away with this game and win by double digits.

Here are three takeaways from the game:

Second quarter Surge

The Aces finished the first quarter hot again, shooting 62% from the field, but only led by three points. In the second quarter, the Aces upped the defensive pressure and allowed it translate to easy offense, opening the quarter on a 12-2 run. Jackie Young would come alive for the Aces in the quarter, hitting four consecutive three-pointers to help the Aces extend their lead to 18. The Aces went onto outscore the Dream 29-21 in the second quarter, shooting 9-14 (64%) from the field and 7-9 (77%) from three. The Aces took advantage of the Dream’s mistakes in the quarter, forcing 5 and scoring 14 points off them.

Jackie Young shooting clinic

After struggling on offense last game against the Dallas Wings Jackie Young came out looking to bounce back. Jackie got off to a strong start in the first quarter, scoring four points on 2-4 shooting while taking the assignment of shooting down the other teams best player. Jackie would catch fire in the second quarter, putting on a shooting clinic, nailing four straight three-pointers. Young finished the quarter with 14 points on 5-8 shooting from the field and 4-5 shooting from three, while also contributing on defense with two steals. Jackie finished the game with 24 points, 4 steals, and was responsible for shutting down the opposition’s greatest player.

“Coach is always going to tell us to keep shooting and thats what Jackie did she knocked four of them down and we wanted her to knock down that fifth one when she came off the curl it was a little short,” Bell said. “We told her keep shooting, we feed off that and then we started following and knocking shots down.”

Aces defense shuts down the dream

The Atlanta Dream had cut the Aces lead to as low as 10 heading into the fourth before the Aces defense once again turned up the intensity. In the fourth quarter the Aces would start the quarter strong defensively allowing them to pull away and take this game over. The Aces outscored the Dream 15-3 to start the fourth quarter. Jackie Young was outstanding on defense once again, limiting All-Star guard Rhyne Howard to 6 points on 3-10 shooting from the field and 0-3 from three. The Aces defense forced 17 Dream turnovers leading to 32 points off turnovers.

“We always speak on playing out of our defense it’s what makes us go,” Wilson said. “Coach always says we can have any scheme but if we don’t have the juice behind it, the effort, the focus the lock in factor behind it we are mediocre.”

The Aces will travel to New York Sunday to take on the Liberty with tip off set 12 p.m. PT.