Wilson’s double-double leads Aces past Storm, 103-77

David Becker/NBA Photos
A'ja Wilson scored 30 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in just 27:03 of playing time to register her 21st double-double of the season.

LAS VEGAS — Mother Nature wasn’t the only thing raining down in Las Vegas on Saturday.

The defending WNBA champion Aces were a four-quarter stalwart and pulled away from the Seattle Storm for a 103-77 rout Saturday night.

A’ja Wilson scored 30 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in just 27:03 of playing time to register her 21st double-double of the season.

Since being held to just nine points in a 38-point loss in New York on Aug. 6, Wilson is averaging 27.1 points on nearly 56.7% shooting and 9.9 rebounds per game.

Jackie Young led four additional players in double figures with 22 points. Alysha Clark came off the bench to score 16, Kelsey Plum finished with 15, and Chelsea Gray chipped in with 14 points.

Jewell Loyd led Seattle with 28 points. Sam Whitcomb added 14 and Ezi Magbegor had 12.

Here are three takeaways from the game:

Defensive storm

The Aces clamped down on the Storm in the fourth quarter, limiting the Storm to just 10 points on 5 of 17 shooting. Las Vegas’ relentless defense throughout the game contributed to Seattle committing 17 turnovers, which the Aces converted into 20 points. The Aces set the tone early, capitalizing on seven Seattle turnovers in the first half and scoring nine points in the process. It helped in contributing toward 12 fast-break points, and keeping the Storm at arm’s length while taking a 49-43 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Paint presence

The Aces finished with 44 points in the paint, 18 better than Seattle’s 26, even though the teams each finished with 38 points. Wilson was 10 of 16 (62.5%) inside the paint, while Plum finished 4 of 6 (66.7%) from the key. The Aces might have shot 18 of 42 from the floor in the first half, but much of that was by dominating the paint. Las Vegas shot just 5 of 19 outside the key, but outscored the Storm 26-10 on 13 of 23 shooting with points in the paint.

“We’re just trying to space and cut, but playing out of our defense helps, when we were getting stops,” coach Becky Hammon said. “We’re always going to attack the pain and then it’s just about making a read.”

Added Wilson: “We’re playing with a lot of pace, we’re not as stagnant, we’re moving, ball’s moving so it kind of leads us into the paint and we get some easy looks.”

Time to rest

Since the second half of the season, after hosting All-Star Weekend, the Aces have played 18 games over 45 days. That includes a stretch that saw them play 10 games in 23 days – an average of one game every 2.3 days. Now the Aces will enjoy five days before playing Friday in Phoenix, including two full days off. The Aces end the regular season against the Mercury in Las Vegas at T-Mobile Arena next Sunday. After their two days off, however, it’s back to work to correct some things.

“Because of our schedule, we haven’t been able to practice, so there’s going to naturally be slippage,” Hammon said. “So rest, yes. But then we can actually get on the floor and correct some things. It’s hard to just show them purely on film all the time. And I got a pretty cerebral group, but there’s something to muscle memory and just repping stuff to keep you sharp, and we haven’t had that practice time to be able to keep them sharp.”