Video Credit: WNBA

FSM Essential Recap: Aces vs. Storm – Game 2

Franchise Sports Media

Las Vegas Aces (1-1) | Seattle Storm (1-1)



An opening-night loss to the Seattle Storm left the Aces in a revenge-seeking scenario headed into game two. They took the early lead and never surrendered it throughout the 40-minute affair, as Vegas earned their first win of the season by the score of 96-80.




Game 2 of the Aces-Storm mini-series saw a start that mirrored the first game. Las Vegas raced out of the gates to an early lead — though, this time with a more balanced scoring attack. Liz Cambage opened with a post bucket before Chelsea Gray, A’ja Wilson, Riquna Williams, and Jackie Young followed suit — giving each starter a pair of points to push the early lead to 10-2. Seattle started cold but crawled back into the game as Katie Lou Samuelson, and Breanna Stewart took turns splashing jumpers to dwindle the deficit to just two points by the midway mark of the first quarter.

But for as quickly as the Storm had found momentum, it was lost in the same manner when Sue Bird subbed out of the game. From there, the Aces contested shots on defense and pushed the offense in transition en route to a 15-0 run to close the quarter, which ended 31-14.

Aces vs Storm
Photo Credit: Seattle Storm

Stephanie Talbot ended the Aces’ scoring-run with a drive to the rim to open the quarter, but Jackie Young kept applying pressure on the offensive end to keep the Aces’ lead at a comfortable distance. Meanwhile, Kelsey Plum and Chelsea Gray pushed the pace in transition, and Wilson ran with them.

Although Las Vegas appeared to be playing near-flawlessly, Seattle hung around long enough to see an Ezi Magbegor 8-2 run diminish the Aces’ lead to 45-31 at halftime.

Vegas brought with them their scoring offense from the first half but left the defense in the locker room. Jewell Loyd rattled off nine quick points to narrow the lead to single digits before handing the baton to Stewart, who’d add her own flurry of baskets. Liz Cambage did her best to keep the Aces’ lead at a comfortable number, but a barrage of turnovers kept Seattle in striking distance. The two squads traded field goals back and forth throughout the quarter without either team able to fully swing any momentum until Katie Loue Samuelson drained a half-court heave at the buzzer to cut the Aces’ lead to just four points entering the final frame.

With the once 21-point lead all but evaporated, Vegas turned to Cambage to stop the bleeding, and she responded with seven points on three buckets — all three coming in the paint. Plum and Wilson joined in on the fun, too, helping build the lead back to double digits where it would stay for the remainder of the game. Seattle put together one final rally after a timeout midway through the fourth, but they weren’t able to slow the hot Aces’ offense. Chelsea Gray put the final finishing touches on a feel-good win by nailing a fadeaway middy near the free-throw line and then darting a one-handed cross-court dime to a Jackie Young three-pointer. The final horn sounded, and the Aces walked away with a 96-80 win.



With one game under their belt, the Aces offense gelled a lot better this time around — something that’ll be key to early-season success as new pieces are incorporated.

Welcome, Chelsea Gray — Speaking of Gray, it’s safe to say that she had a less than ideal debut for the Aces during their season-opening loss to the Storm over the weekend, but she made up for it in game two. From the jump, she looked like a different player — aggressively getting to her spots and knocking down her mid-range jumpers before nailing a three. Not only did her shot look great, but she also got in her “Point Gawd” bag, earning “ooh’s” and “ahh’s” on more than a few assists — a true indicator that she’s feeling good and comfortable. Gray finished with 11 points and 7 assists in 28 minutes.



Paint Points — Liz Cambage and A’ja Wilson led the charge in the Aces’ paint dominance; no surprise, as this is what Vegas is known to do, but it felt more efficient and potent on this night in comparison to the first game. The 48 points in the paint did not solely come from posting the bigs; rather, almost every player had seemingly more than one conversion near the rim — Jackie Young’s repeated post baskets over Sue Bird, Kelsey Plum’s drives to the rim, and Chelsea Gray’s fadeaway middies from the circle — just to name a few. Again, it was a dominant performance in that area.




Aces vs Storm
Photo Credit: WNBA

In a game in which Las Vegas never trailed, they didn’t necessarily remain in control the entire time.

Third Quarter — After allowing just 31 total points in the first half, Vegas surrendered that total in the third quarter alone. The Aces had no answers for neither Breanna Stewart nor Jewell Loyd, who combined to score 24 of their team’s 31 points in the frame. They’ll have to avoid these kinds of quarters in future games.





The Aces return to Las Vegas for their home opener on Friday, May 21st against the Los Angeles Sparks. Tune into CBS Sports Network at 7:30 p.m. to follow the action live, and remember to check back for the next recap.

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-Cole Huff– Franchise Sports Media

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