After a dominant Game 1 win over the Dallas Wings, the Las Vegas Aces were put to the test in Game 2 on Tuesday.
They passed and fended off a second-half push by the Wings, scoring a 91-84 victory and taking a 2-0 lead in the WNBA semifinals. They are now just one win away from reaching the WNBA Finals to secure their second straight championship.
The Aces got off to another strong start on Tuesday, taking a 26-18 lead in the first quarter. They went into halftime with a 44-37 lead and had a total of 30 first-half points from A’ja Wilson and Chelsea Gray.
The Wings fought back early in the third quarter and tied the game at 49-49. The Aces responded with a 21-8 stretch to take a 70-57 lead into the fourth round. But the game wasn’t over yet.
The Wings rebounded with a 9-0 run of their own in the fourth, capped by a 3-pointer from Arike Ogunbowale, to get back within 73-68. They took advantage of several quick Aces possessions to cut their deficit again to 85-81 with 1:36 left. But Wilson made two free throws with 39.6 seconds left to seal the decisive victory, securing an 89-81 lead and her third straight performance with more than 30 points.
In doing so, she made history as the first WNBA player to have three consecutive playoff games with more than 30 points. Their 102-point tally since their decisive Game 2 win over the Chicago Sky is the highest three-game tally in playoff history. She finished Tuesday with 30 points, 11 rebounds, two blocks and one steal. She hit all 10 of her free throws and completed 10 of 18 from the field.
“Playoff basketball,” Wilson told ESPN of their hot streak. “That’s what I get paid for. I get paid to play basketball and have fun with my teammates. … This is what I was made for and I’m trying to make sure my team does the same.”
Wilson’s attempt came hours after she finished third in a close three-way MVP race that crowned New York Liberty star Breanna Stewart.
“It is what it is,” Wilson said. “I can’t control that. I took my time for a few hours, but at the end of the day we have something bigger to strive for.”