A'ja Wilson continued her dominance in a 29 point, nine rebound performance against the Los Angeles Sparks on Friday night. The Aces defeated the Sparks 94-78 in their biggest win of the season to this point.
Granted, the Sparks were without their former MVP Nneka Ogwumike and Candace Parker battled foul trouble for the majority of the game. The Ace's took advantage of Los Angeles being on the tail end of a back-to-back road swing following a loss to the Storm 24 hours earlier. The Ace's took care of business at home, snapping a 10-game losing streak to Los Angeles. They played with a pace and aggression that certainly turned some heads.
"This is a huge win for us. We've had moments where we've been close like the Dallas and Chicago games. But to be able to close out a game against the best team in the league is something that I'm really proud of," said Ace's guard Kelsey Plum in the post game press conference. "Everyone played for 40 minutes. Coach talks about playing 40 minutes all the way through and we've had stretches where we've lost it or broke down, but I was proud of everybody tonight."
The Ace's shot 51 percent from the field and 62 percent from the three-point line on 5-8 shooting. They out-rebounded the Sparks 40-34. Los Angeles shot 40 percent overall and 46 percent from the three-point line finishing 13-28, an unusually high amount of three's taken for them. The biggest difference in the game besides overall field goal percentage, came at the free throw line. The Ace's attempted 31 total free throws versus the Sparks 12, one of the largest discrepancies of the season so far.
The Ace's were the the more aggressive team and did a great job of making the ref's blow their whistle taking right at the Sparks and pushing tempo. They got the ball inside to Wilson, who finished 9-11 from the charity stripe. "We wanted to push the pace and did throughout the whole course of the game," said Ace's Head Coach Bill Laimbeer following the game. "I thought our pace of play throughout the course of the game was to our advantage. We got them in a position where they couldn't set their defense because we kept attacking the inside."
… the form though! pic.twitter.com/CXfTkdfZpy
— Las Vegas Aces ♦️♠️ (@LVAces) June 30, 2018
For the Sparks, a higher than usual volume of three pointers were taken. 38 percent of their total shots came from behind the three-point line, taking away from plays inside that would have undoubtedly led to more free throw attempts.
The Dominance of Wilson
What we're seeing out of A'ja Wilson is nothing short of incredible. We knew the first-round draft pick was league ready from a skill, frame and athleticism standpoint. But, she has been one of the most consistent and confident players in the entire league all season long.
Wilson has scored in double figures in all 17 games she has played in during her young career. She is currently third in the league in scoring and rebounding, averaging 20.7 points and 8.9 rebounds per game. But beyond numbers, Wilson plays like an MVP veteran. She never appears to be intimidated and only thrives under pressure, going up against the greatest in the world and not just holding her own, demanding she should be included in that conversation.
The Ace's are an intriguing team. Kayla McBride is playing at an extremely high level right now offensively averaging 18 points a game. Kelsey Plum appears to be coming into her own, playing with more creativity and confidence each game. "I think everyone is realizing who they are on this basketball team and what their responsibilities are and now we have to go perform like that every night," said Laimbeer.
The Aces now head to Los Angeles for a quick rematch with the Sparks on Sunday, July 1st at 5:00pm ET.