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Wilson dominant in Las Vegas’ double-digit win over Dallas



Las Vegas forward A'ja Wilson celebrates a made basket during the team's road win against Dallas. Photo Credit: Las Vegas Aces

Las Vegas star A’ja Wilson posted another record-breaking stat line in a bounce back win for the back-to-back defending champs.


Closing a three-game road trip the Aces beat the Dallas Wings 95-81 Friday, June 5 from the College Park Center. The win gives the team a 2-1 record as it heads back home.


“Overall though, [I’m] happy,” head coach Becky Hammon said. “To hold that team to 38% [and] 20% from three, pretty good job on initial defense.”


Still in the early going of the new year, Las Vegas sports a 5-2 record with a pit-stop home game next on the schedule. The team will host the Seattle Storm inside the Michelob Ultra Arena Friday, June 7 with tip-off scheduled for 7 p.m.


“I’m trying to tone down my rhetoric on October,” Hammon said. “I want to take care of today. Forget about October, let’s take care of today. So just being present in the moment, taking one game at a time because at the end of the day if we take care of those things, we’ll be there in the end.


“But we can’t get ahead of ourselves.”


Aces forward A'ja Wilson goes hard to the rim during her 29-point outing against the Wings. Photo Credit: Las Vegas Aces

In a game that featured both of the league’s top two scorers in Dallas’ Arike Ogunbowale and Wilson (26.5 ppg), the two each put on masterclass performances.


Following a rough start to the last game, Wilson pumped out 14 quick points in the first quarter as the Aces hit the ground running.


“My teammates really just kept me afloat,” she said. “I kind of spazzed on the refs in the heat of the moment, I apologize there but it’s just frustrating, you know? You’re not necessarily begging for calls, you just want the right call.”


Wilson also added, “I feel better than I look.” She conducted her postgame press conference with a band-aid near her nostril next to a cut along the bridge of her nose. While defending her two-time MVP in the third quarter, Hammon was assessed her first technical foul of the season.


“We’ve got each other’s back,” Hammon said. “They’ve got my back just as much as I have their back. I felt like we were getting hit and not getting calls. So I’m going to let them know about it. A is bruised from head to toe – at some point, somethings gotta switch.”


Through the adversity, Wilson recorded 36 points, 12 rebounds and six steals. Along the way, she became the first player in WNBA history to post a stat line of at least 35 points, 10 rebounds and five steals. 


“I haven’t played in about six months,” Wilson said. “I was bored, I got to watch everybody else play and we weren’t playing. So what drives me is the opportunity to play basketball.”


The Aces raced out of the gate against the Wings to the tune of an 11-2 start to the game highlighted by a 9-0 run. As a result, the lead would jump to 17 in the opening quarter and up to 20 points early in the second frame.


Dallas would respond with a 23-8 run in the second quarter to get itself back into the game. At one point, the once 20-point lead was cut to just five points.


Ogunbowale scored eight points during the first part of that second quarter run on her way to 16 first half points. She’d finish with 31 points to go along with seven assists and four rebounds.


Her effort would help the Wings cut the Aces’ lead to four in the second half but another lead-stretching spurt by the visitors pushed it back to double-digits heading into the fourth quarter.


Ultimately, it was a 17-2 run between the close of the third quarter and start of the fourth that helped Las Vegas close the game.


The starting backcourt tandem of Kelsey Plum and Jackie Young combined to score 39 points on 12-of-28 from the field along with 10 total assists and nine rebounds.


Recently unretired guard Tiffany Hayes played in her first game as an Ace and logged her first minutes and points in the game’s opening quarter. Prior to participating in live gameplay, the now 12-year vet was active in two team practices.

Recently signed veteran guard Tiffany Hayes throws up three fingers after a made three during her first game with the Las Vegas Aces. Photo Credit: Las Vegas Aces

“It’s actually not as bad as I thought it was going to be, which is great for me,” Hayes said. “I was kind of on the beach but not really so they’re giving me grace [by] giving me time and I’m appreciative of that.”


In her first seven minutes of action, Hayes showcased it all with four points, two rebounds and two assists. By the final buzzer, she’d be the fourth and final Aces player in double-figures with 11 points, six rebounds and four assists as she accounted for all the team’s bench points.


More notably, she single-handedly outscored the Wings’ bench by five.

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