Tue, 30 May 2023

Aces put top record up against champion Sky

Field Level Media
21 Jun 2022, 09:05 GMT+10

A pair of accomplished teams will meet Tuesday when the reigning WNBA champion Chicago Sky visit the team atop the standings this season, the Las Vegas Aces.

"It's a new year," said the Sky's Courtney Vandersloot, who is tied for the league lead with 7.0 assists per game. "Everyone is trying to be the champion of this year."

Las Vegas (13-2), which is 8-1 at home, has won four straight games and is off to the best 15-game start in franchise history. The Aces are led by a potent starting lineup: A'ja Wilson, Kelsey Plum, Jackie Young, Chelsea Gray and Dearica Hamby.

Plum has scored in double figures in 22 straight regular-season games, in a continuation from 2021 when she was the WNBA's Sixth Woman of the Year and scored 14.8 points per game. This season, while averaging a team-high 20.1 points, she has forged a new path.

"I'm a starter in this league, and I think everyone knows it," Plum said. "I want to establish myself as one of the best players in the league."

Wilson -- who has seven games of at least 20 points this season -- is among the favorites for WNBA MVP.

Chicago (10-5) has won three of its past four games, but is coming off an 89-87 loss to the Indiana Fever.

The Sky, who are 5-3 on the road, blew a 15-point second-half lead against Indiana despite a career-high 28 points from 2021 WNBA Finals MVP Kahleah Copper. Copper was 8-of-13 shooting, including 4 of 6 on 3-pointers.

In addition, the Sky got 12 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three blocks from forward Emma Meesseman.

Chicago's Candace Parker missed her second consecutive game due to a knee injury. The two-time league MVP and six-time All-Star is averaging 12.4 points, a team-high 7.9 rebounds and 4.5 assists.

The Sky have five players averaging double figures in scoring: Copper (15.0), Meesseman (13.0), Parker (12.4), Vandersloot (11.3) and Azura Stevens (10.2).

After Plum's 20.1 scoring average, Wilson is putting up 18.5 points while making 51.5 percent of her shots for the Aces. She also leads the team in rebounds (9.5) and blocks (2.5). Young is averaging 17.8 points and leads the team in 3-point shooting (43.8 percent).

--Field Level Media

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