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A’ja Wilson reveals key to Aces’ Fever blowout in historic night

When the Las Vegas Aces came out of the locker room for Tuesday’s tip-off against the Indiana Fever, there was an odd vibe. A crowd of over 20,000 people, including many from Iowa, Indiana, and Sin City, cheered enthusiastically in anticipation of the highly anticipated game between the Indiana Fever and the Las Vegas Aces. In the end, the Aces defeated Indiana with a decisive score of 88-69.

“We have tremendous fans, it was an amazing environment and I’m grateful that we got the win,” Kelsey Plum said in the Aces vs. Fever post-game conference. 

Plum brought that “Dawg” energy out from the jump, putting up 34 points to lead the Aces in scoring. Her fire, the team’s synergy, and a real defense flow contributed to the back-to-back champions extending their winning streak to five games. If anyone doubted whether the Aces could make the three-peat happen, Las Vegas reminded Indiana and the naysayers that they are THE team to beat

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“It’s just been a more focused, purposeful, attention to detail,” Aces coach Becky Hammon said during the post-game conference.  “I’m not giving them anything we haven’t done before, it’s not different verbiage, it’s just a matter of  buckling down.” 

“We made them uncomfortable,” Aces superstar A’ja Wilson said in the post-game conference. “Nobody likes to be uncomfortable, especially on the court.” 

Las Vegas sets the record straight

The Aces put on a show in front of a crowd of 20,366. It is the largest regular-season crowd at a WNBA game since 1999 and the fifth-most attended game in WNBA history. 

“There’s a lot of eyes on us now. Vegas has been showing up now for the past two or three years. So, I’m not surprised,” Hammon said after Tuesday’s win against the fever. 

T- mobile Arena may be a more likely home for the Las Vegas champions. The arena can hold about 6,000 more people than Michelob Ultra Arena, where the Aces play when they’re at home. 

Las Vegas has already sold out tickets for every home game this season. They are the first to get it done in the history of the W. Tuesday night’s games is number eight of the WNBA’s top ten attendance marks. 

The energy from the crowd was felt on the court. Las Vegas led most of the night, not pumping on the brakes on either the defense or the offense. The win comes right after the announcement of four Aces players making the All-Star Roster. Wilson and Plum will join Jackie Young and Chelsea Gray. Las Vegas Aces guard Kelsey Plum (10), Las Vegas Aces center A'ja Wilson (22), and Las Vegas Aces center Kiah Stokes (41) celebrate a play during the second half of game one of the 2023 WNBA Playoffs at Michelob Ultra Arena.

The Dawg was out

Plum entered the game with 2,968 career points. But, she didn’t stay there. She scored her 3,000th point on an eight-inch driving folate with only less than five minutes to play in the game. She had been gunning for it since tip-off. 

“Our best screener is Kelsey Plum. She lays people out,” Hammon said in the post-game conference. “Every night is going to be someone different. Tonight, it’s KP.” 

Plum’s 34 points included six threes, six rebounds, five assists and one steal. Tuesday’s game was her first 30-point performance of the season. With the resurgence of Chelsea “The Point Guard” Gray, The Dawg is finally getting back to doing what she’s used to doing best. Hammon said that her handle of the ball and reads make her a tough player to guard. 

“When you can shoot it like she can shoot and she’s fast,” Hammon said after the game on Tuesday. “She is a really difficult to guard in that fact. I thought she did really good job of just taking really good ones and making great decisions with the basketball.” 

Mudita- Aces “It’s just usKelsey Plum, Aja Wilson of the Aces

Whatever points on defense Hammon has been drilling seem to have stuck, as the team is not only inflow on the offense but also on the defense. 

“We kind of took what the defense was giving us throughout the flow of the game, teammates kept finding us. So, we kind of used this game to get back to us,” Wilson said in the post-game conference.

From Kiah Stokes’s amazing 12 rebounds to Chelsea Gray back in the fold to help move the ball, what was displayed on Tuesday night against the Fever was a team in sync. After the Ace’s victory over the Sun, Hammon mentioned in the post-game conference this spirit that the team has: Mudita. 

“I told them they’ve got to have Mudita,” Hammon said in the post-game conference after the win against the Sun. 

Mudita is a Sanskrit word meaning appreciative joy for others. It’s what played on the court and during practices for the back-to-back champs and continues to lead them to wins. 

The team brought the block party to their defensive agenda. Wilson, who followed Plum in scoring with 28 points, had five blocks and two steals. Jackie Young put up 15 points and 10 rebounds. The defense was the winning factor in Tuesday’s win against the Fever. 

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