The Las Vegas Aces beat the Indiana Fever 92-74 and their playoff hopes live another day. With a Dallas loss to the Dream, the Aces moved within a game-and-a-half behind the final WNBA playoff's spot.
That battle appears to be leaning toward a dramatic finish between the Aces and the Wings as Las Vegas has dropped the previous five games, including a forfeit. Dallas has dropped the last seven, making the Aces win over the Fever crucial in terms of closing that gap. The Aces have now swept the Fever for the second year in a row (dating back to the Stars days, of course.)
Las Vegas jumped out early on Indiana scoring the first seven points of the contest behind a hot start from A'ja Wilson and never trailed. The Fever were able to cut it to four on three different occasions but were unable to get it any closer. "It really came out at the start of the game. We were all set that we needed this win but at the same time we didn't want to overthink everything," said Aces A'ja Wilson in a post-game press conference. "We really trust and lean on each other and that's what it's all about."
The Aces shot the ball well at 46-percent from the field versus the Fever's 36-percent. The insanely good trio of Kelsey Plum (20), A'ja Wilson (19) and Kayla McBride (18) combined for 57 points. "I thought we played a better game tonight," said Aces head coach Bill Laimbeer. "We were engaged from the start. We had a lot of good performances from a lot of people."
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A'ja Wilson's 19 points make that her 30th consecutive double-digit performance. She has now done so in every game during her young professional career. Kelsey Plum's 20 point performance is the 12th time this season she has scored in double figures.
The Indiana Fever connected on a season-high 10 three-pointers behind rookie duo Kelsey Mitchell and Victoria Vivians who both connected on two a piece. The pair have now become the first rookie duo on the same team to connect on 60 or more three-point field goals in a season with Mitchell at 66 and Vivians at 61.
Indiana is 5-26 and remain in last place in league standings.
The Aces sit at 13-18 and have three games remaining on the schedule, including a matchup with the Dallas Wings on Friday. But first, they will enjoy a few days of rest at home before they host the New York Liberty in a must-win game. This is their sole focus and has to be for any continued shot at playoffs. "Our focus is exclusively on New York," said Laimbeer. "Whatever happens with other teams is their business."
You can catch the Aces vs. Liberty on Wednesday, August 15 at 10:00pm ET on NBA TV and WNBA League Pass.