The Las Vegas Aces put together another decisive victory Tuesday night, defeating the Phoenix Mercury for their 18th win of the season and second in a row overall.
Las Vegas triumphed 98-72 over Phoenix at the Michelob Ultra Arena Tuesday, July 11, where the team now holds an 11-0 record for the season. The Aces sit at 18-2 overall this year.
Unlike their last outing against Minnesota where guard Kelsey Plum scored a franchise-record 40 points, this was a much more balanced Aces effort.
Plum still scored 17, but was just the fourth leading scorer on the team. Guard Chelsea Gray, forward A’ja Wilson and guard Jackie Young each scored over 20 points, with Young’s 23 leading the way.
The Aces’ offense is proving that their disjointed display last Friday against Dallas is more the exception than the rule.
Wilson and Plum kept Las Vegas afloat in the first quarter, combining for 21 of the team’s 26 points, but it didn’t take long for the offense to kick into gear. The Aces seemingly flipped a switch in the second quarter, outscoring the Mercury 26-12 en route to an 18-point halftime lead.
Young was the spark to end the half, scoring 10 points on 80% shooting in the second quarter to give the Mercury defense yet another problem.
However, Las Vegas wasn’t content. They would pick up right where they left off in the third quarter. The 18-point lead to begin the second half ballooned to twice that size, as a rapid 30-12 run to begin the second half gave the Aces what would be their largest lead of the game at 36 points.
That multi-faceted attack represents what makes this Aces team so dominant. It’s one thing to have the ability to take over games in the way they do, but it’s another to sustain that same pressure.
That unrelenting style is what takes a comfortable lead to a blowout, something that Las Vegas has been quite familiar with this season.
The Aces have outscored their opponents by a total of 305 points over their 20 games this season. The New York Liberty are in second place in that metric at just 110 points. That translates to an average margin of victory of 15.3 points per game for the Aces, whereas the Liberty sit at just 6.5 points per game.
The Aces have had a couple of missteps this season, but their overall consistency is something to be admired as they sit just one game out from the All-Star break. Speaking of what’s ahead, it’s a quick turnaround for Las Vegas as they’ll be in Los Angeles tonight for their final game before the break.
The All-Star Game will be held on Saturday at Michelob Ultra Arena, with four Aces taking part: Wilson, Plum, Young, and Gray. They’ll all play on the same team as Wilson, the team captain, drafted the other three Aces to her squad.
The Aces can also look forward to the Commissioner’s Cup Championship on their home court next month, as they clinched a spot for the second consecutive year.
The Aces finished regular season Commissioner’s Cup play with a 9-1 record, and have raised $18,500 through their play to be donated to the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Southern Nevada.
The Aces will get an additional $10,000 to donate to the NAMI if they win the championship game, though a loss still ensures an additional $5,000 donation.