LAS VEGAS — The top two teams in the Western Conference squared off in an arena the defending champion Las Vegas Aces hadn’t lost in all season.
That undefeated mark inside Michelob Ultra Arena remains intact – now at 10-0 – but it didn’t come easy.
Jackie Young scored 28 points and the Aces (16-1) overcame a 14-point deficit to defeat the Dallas Wings 89-82 on Wednesday in front of a sold-out crowd.
A’ja Wilson added 22 points and 13 rebounds, her 11th double-double of the season. Chelsea Gray, who led the Aces’ second-half attack, finished with 20 points, and Alysha Clark chipped in with 10.
After allowing Dallas to score 51 in the first half, the Aces’ defense locked down the Wings in the second half, holding them to 31 in the 3rd and 4th quarters.
Dallas’ Natasha Howard led all scorers with 32 points, while grabbing 13 rebounds. Teaira McCowan also registered a double-double for the Wings (8-9), with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Arike Ogunbowale added 12 points for Dallas, and Crystal Dangerfield finished with 11.
Dallas opened the game by taking a 14-point lead against a sloppy display by Las Vegas, which played more like a team that was hungover after knocking off the Eastern Conference’s top two teams, rather than the squad that has had a sobering effect on the entire league.
Las Vegas fought back and clipped the Wings’ lead to one point, but Dallas rode the hot hand of Howard to build a nine-point halftime lead.
The Aces actually outshot Dallas in the first half, 50% to 48.8%, but they couldn’t overcome 10 turnovers. The Wings scored 17 points off Las Vegas’ 10 miscues, while the Aces had no answer for Howard, who scored 20 of her points in the first two quarters.
“For us to have 10 turnovers at halftime, it’s uncharacteristic of us,” Clark said. “I think we were just rushing a little bit. They’re obviously long on the defensive side of the floor. We ran into a little bit of trouble … we adjusted well. I think we did a much better job we finished with 13, so we only had three in the second half. So I think we did a good job adjusting.”
Dallas was as big as a 15-1/2 point underdog before it was announced Aces sharpshooter Kelsey Plum would miss the game due to a non-COVID illness. The line closed at 12 at most places.