Knocked out of first place in the WNBA standings, the Las Vegas Aces will try to reverse a recent skid in their final outing before the All-Star break when they host the New York Liberty on Wednesday.
Las Vegas (15-6) slipped a half-game behind reigning WNBA champion Chicago — marking the first time the Aces have not been atop the league since their 9-1 start — as a result of an ongoing 2-4 stretch.
The last loss was Las Vegas’ most lopsided of this rough patch, a 102-71 rout on Sunday against a Minnesota team that has languished near the league cellar much of the campaign.
Five Aces average more than 12 points per game on the season, yet only one (Kelsey Plum) reached that mark against the Lynx. The Aces also surrendered a 53-25 rebounding edge to Minnesota.
“They were getting 50-50 balls that weren’t even coming right off the rim,” Chelsea Gray said in her postgame press conference. “Our energy on that end just has to be better.”
New York (8-12) comes into Wednesday’s matchup on a two-game losing skid, including the first on a three-game Western road swing that continues with the Liberty’s trip to Las Vegas.
Los Angeles outscored New York 44-31 in the second half of the Liberty’s 84-74 loss to the Sparks on Sunday. New York shot just 39.7 percent from the floor against the Sparks, including 5-of-18 shooting from Sabrina Ionescu.
“We were worried about our offense. We weren’t getting the best shots,” Liberty coach Sandy Brondello said. “We didn’t play as a team, simple as that.”
A positive development for the New York offense in spite of its struggles at Los Angeles was the continued prolific production of Marine Johannes.
Johannes — who missed both the 2020 and 2021 WNBA seasons — rejoined the Liberty on June 10. In eight games this season, she has scored at least 11 points six times.
Sunday marked the third outing on the season in which Johannes made five 3-pointers. She sank 5-of-9 attempts from deep en route to 17 points against the Sparks.
–Field Level Media