“We really buckled down, locked in, and we got the job done.” -A’ja Wilson
LAS VEGAS (July 8, 2018) — The Connecticut Sun made five three-pointers in the second half of the game. They turned the ball over twice, assisted on 13 of their 19 baskets, and scored 36 points in the third quarter. Chine Ogwumike, Jasmine Thomas, and Rachel Banham combined for 26 points on 29 shots.
The Las Vegas Aces moved the ball well with 26 assists, and only six of their players scored. Kayla McBride was stellar on offense finishing with 27 points, and three players finished with 9 points. JiSu Park totaled six points and registered 9 rebounds with a key board coming in the final seconds late in the fourth.
But none of it mattered because the Las Vegas Aces have A’ja Wilson.
Numbers never do an A’ja performance justice, and those she racked up in Las Vegas’ 94-90 win were no different. Wilson scored 34 points (13-of-24 FGs), grabbed 14 rebounds, doled out two assists, and swiped one steal on Saturday, she added for her eighth double-double of the season.
Aces’ Head Coach on Wilson and McBride’s performance:
“It was great to come back and get a win like that. Obviously, our two horses went off again [A’ja Wilson and Kayla McBride]. It’s no question where our bread is buttered.”
An aggressive, angry, engaged Wilson is extra scary, and that’s the version of A’ja we ultimately saw on Saturday. She’s was the best player on the floor, whether she’s that way or not, but Wilson reaches heights heretofore untouched when the game is on the line.
A’ja echoed that sentiment after the game:
“We really held our composure. We know basketball is a game of runs and we know that Connecticut keeps on going. Like coach says, they’re a front-running team. When they get going, we have to just stay within ourselves and keep attacking them in any way. Just control what we can control and I think we did a great job of doing that.”
This play sums up A’ja’s performance perfectly.
— Las Vegas Aces ♦️♠️ (@LVAces) July 8, 2018
How else to explain Wilson’s incredible play?
The humbling reality is that there isn’t an answer. Even Connecticut was mostly powerless to stop A’ja at something close to her best, in her rookie season, she’s assured us that’s the way she plans to play every night.
There’s little doubt Connecticut is a better “team” than Vegas. Its blend of high-end talent, bench firepower, roster flexibility, and systematic cohesion.
But the Aces have A’ja Wilson, and when she’s playing like she did on Saturday night, that’s all that really matters.
A’ja Wilson (34) and Kayla McBride (27) combined to score 61 points.
The Sun bench outscored the Aces’ bench 44-15.
Las Vegas’ starters outscored the Sun starters 79-46.
The Aces went 16 for 19 from the free throw line while Connecticut went 7 for 10.
The Sun made 9 of 29 three-pointers, while Las Vegas went 4 for 13.
Kelsey Plum (10) and Moriah Jefferson (5) combined to hand out 15 assists without a turnover.
Aces: Visit Chicago on Tuesday.
Follow Mike Dixon on Twitter at @MikeDixonSports