Aces vs Mystics – WNBA Western Conference Semifinals – Game 2

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The Washington Mystics took game 2 of the WNBA Semifinals and defeated the Las Vegas Aces 103-93. They take a 2-0 series lead.

The Mystics came in the game with one thing on their minds, winning by any means necessary. The team was in sync, shared the ball, and spread the floor, keeping the Aces on their heels. The Mystics were not phased by the Aces defense and used a run in the late 3rd/early 4th quarter to pull away from Las Vegas.

It was only Kristi Oliver’s second game back for the Aces and she made crucial shots finishing with 10 points. Point guard Kelsey Plum, who was added to the starting lineup after coming off the bench in game 1, made impactful plays and big shots all night. She would finish with 19 points, 10 assists, and 6 rebounds. It just wasn’t enough for Bill Laimbeer‘s team on this night.

Las Vegas Aces vs Washington Mystics
Photo Credit: Bullets Forever

The Aces offense was able to hang with the Mystics in the first half, ending the 2nd quarter down 50-49. In the 3rd quarter, after the Mystics went on a small run, the Aces responded with their own 10-2 run, bringing them within one basket. Washington stopped the bleeding with a well-placed time out and all but put an end to the brief momentum swing. After the break, the Mystics answered back and went on a 10-0 run of their own.  Multiple Aces turnovers and missed shots allowed the Mystics to take control of the rest of the game.

The season-long Achilles heel crept in for the Aces again as the turnovers came tumbling down. The Aces committed 13 turnovers to the Mystics 6. The Mystics also had 9 steals to the Aces 1. The Mystics only scored 7 points off the Aces mistakes, but it was just too much for the Aces to overcome. The Aces zone defense gave Mystics shooters like Elena Delle Donne and Emma Meesseman a lot of open shots that they knocked down. Natasha Cloud helped her team, attacking the Aces bigs down low and scoring 17 points.

The Aces tried to mount a comeback with veteran Tamara Young putting up 10 points and making three back to back shots in the final period. Plum also made plays by taking the ball to the hoop, creating either lay-ups or drawing defenders to her and allowing teammates to slash to the basket for easy attempts. Perhaps the key moment of the game happened in the 4th quarter when Aces center Liz Campage drove to the basket and was fouled. The referees reviewed the play and actually gave Campage a technical foul for an elbow to Meesseman. Delle Donne hit the free throw, but the foul and delay in the game really hurt the Aces more since they had some momentum at that point in the game. Campage finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds but wasn’t the same after the controversial call.

Photo courtesy of Aces

Aja Wilson did not play a good game and for the most part, wasn’t a factor. She scored just 8 points and was a poor 3-10 from the field. Wilson did have 7 rebounds to go along with a strong defensive effort. if the Aces want to win Game 3, they need Wilson to have a better game.

Top scorers for Washington were Meesseman with 30 points, tying her career-high, and Laytoya Sanders with 17 buckets. Prior to the start of the game, Elena Delle Donne was honored with the WNBA MVP trophy for the second time in her career. The all-star ended the game with 14 points. Delle Donne also is the first WNBA player to finish with the 50/40/90 stat line, meaning she shot 50% from the field, 40% from the 3-point line, and 90% from the free-throw line, joining the likes of Larry Bird, Steph Curry, and Reggie Miller.

 

Game 3 of the WNBA Semifinals will be hosted in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.

 

Aniea Collins

http://twitter.com/aniealation

 

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