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Win streak up to four games as Aces beat Mercury on road

Las Vegas huddles up prior to tip-off against Phoenix Wednesday, June 21. Photo Credit: Las Vegas Aces

Coming off an undefeated three-game homestand, the Las Vegas Aces utilized a season-high in total assists to down the Phoenix Mercury, 99-79, on the road Wednesday, June 21.

“It’s just [about] putting together four quarters,” guard Jackie Young said. “We know we can score the ball but at the same time, we have to be able to play defense for four quarters. That’s the biggest thing for us.”

Las Vegas improved to a league-best 11-1 overall with the win while running its streak over Phoenix to six straight games including the postseason. All games including this one have been played without Mercury center Brittney Griner.

Additionally, the Aces have now scored 90 or more points in 10 of the first 12 games to open the season. After this one-off road stop, the team will now return home for a five-game homestand from the Michelob Ultra Arena.

“For me, I don’t need a game to tell me that this team is the best,” forward A’ja Wilson said. “We are who we are, I see it every single day in practice. I don’t think winning by ‘X’ amount or who we’re playing doesn’t weigh into us. We really have to focus on us and who's in our locker room and what we can do to make each other better every single night.”

The stretch will begin with a Saturday, June 24 matchup with the Indiana Fever with tip-off slated for 6 p.m.

Las Vegas turned in a season-high 29 assists in its fifth win by 20 points or more. In the opening quarter against Indiana, the team racked up nine assists on its first 11 made field goals while building a lead as large as 13 points. By the end of the game, the Aces led by as many as 29 points.

Aces guard Chelsea Gray calls out a play during the team's, 99-79, win over the Mercury Wednesday afternoon. Photo Credit: Las Vegas Aces

Five different Las Vegas players recorded at least four assists including four with five dimes or more. Guard Chelsea Gray led the way with eight assists to go along with 11 points. Those 29 team assists helped the team knock down 36 made field goals for a 55% clip.

“I think everyone in the league and probably everyone in the world knows we’re good,” Wilson said. “But what can we do to make us great. It’s those extra plays, it’s making that extra pass to the open-open person, the hockey assist [and] things that don’t show up on the stat sheet.”

That ball-sharing became vital as the team dominated from deep, connecting on six of its 10 attempts from three-point range in the first quarter. In total, the Aces shot 11-of-23 from beyond the arc.

Young scored a game-high 23 points on 8-of-12 from the field including five made threes highlighted by 14 points in the first quarter. She added five assists on her final stat line.

“I think I just came out aggressive,” Young said. “When we’re sharing the ball, everybody gets an opportunity. But the biggest thing for me is stepping into it with confidence.”

Las Vegas guard Jackie Young takes a three-point attempt from the wing in front of her team's bench. Photo Credit: Las Vegas Aces

Fellow guard Kelsey Plum added 21 points on 70% shooting with three trey balls coupled with six assists.

Wilson scored 12 points in the first half after scoring just eight in 25 minutes played in the team’s last outing against Minnesota. She finished with 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting and a game-high 12 rebounds for her seventh double-double of the season.

“It’s what you dream of right?” Wilson said when speaking of the talent on this Las Vegas team. “I feel like everybody in our starting five can give you 20 and 10 any given night. It’s just a matter of finding the right person to make the right shot at the right time. That’s the challenge and that’s why the game is fun to us.”

Once again everybody in uniform played for head coach Becky Hammon as reserve guard Riquna Williams missed her 12th straight game to start this new year as she recovers from a sore lower back.


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