Las Vegas Aces center A’ja Wilson scored a season-high of 35 points in their 89-72 victory over the Los Angeles Sparks.
Sparks forward Nneka Ogwumike led with 16 points and nine rebounds. Wilson also led the Aces with 11 rebounds. Despite the loss, the Sparks managed to hold the Aces to under their scoring average of 90.8 points per game. This is their third meeting this season, Ogwumike noted their improvement from previous match-ups.
“We had more of a game plan to not over help,” she said. “Sometimes bringing too many players to the ball causes too much distortion on the weak side. So we wanted to commit to being more one-on-one.”
Center Liz Cambage, who normally scores 16.3 points per game, was held to six points. She was matched up with her former teammate Wilson.
“I was trying to get her posted up offensively a little better,” said Sparks interim head coach Fred Williams. “Guarding A’ja Wilson is a tough task because she knows how to get down and fade away and get a shot up.”
The Sparks found their offensive stride early with guard Katie Lou Samuelson scoring in the early minutes. Guard Chennedy Carter created a five-point run, but the Sparks’ score stayed pegged at 18 points for the last four minutes of the first quarter.
As the game progressed, Los Angeles could not keep up with the offensive accuracy of Las Vegas. During the second quarter, the Aces created an 11-2 run and secured a double-digit lead. Their frontcourt players aggressively double-teamed the Sparks and the Las Vegas guards pounded the paint for shots.
By the half, the Aces were shooting at 60 percent from the field. The Sparks were only shooting at 39 percent.
“Coach Fred [Williams] talked about if we get the ball, you have to shoot it with confidence,” said guard Jordin Canada. “I think in the first half and throughout the game, we kind of just hesitated a little bit and we were in our own head.”
Los Angeles found ways to make defensive stops and score. The Sparks scored 19 points during the third quarter, it was the most the Sparks scored as the Aces scored over 20 points in the first three quarters.
“I think they were trying hard, a little too hard,” Williams said. “They just got to have more practices, get the timing down with things that we are doing on the floor differently.”
Samuelson scored 13 points, Cambage made three blocked shots, and Canada scored 10 points and eight assists. Carter led the Sparks bench with nine points.
The Sparks’ next game will be against the Dallas Wings on June 19 at 1 pm pst.