Aces

A Look Inside the Aces’ High-Octane Offense

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The Indiana Fever learned the hard way Monday night.

Two-time league MVP Candace Parker was 0-for-4 — and an average of 8.2 points per game marks a comparatively slow start for the all-time great. 

The Aces bench, which is often not the bearer of the scoring burden, combined for just five points on five shots. Although that shouldn’t come as a surprise when the starting lineup for Las Vegas entered the night with the highest starting-five scoring average in league history — 78.8 PPG. 

Even Kelsey Plum, the second-highest scorer in the WNBA last season, shot just 4-of-16 from the floor. 

For much of the night, the Aces played an ugly game. But none of that mattered because they won.

The Fever played intense defense, and rookie sensation Aliyah Boston played brilliantly, posting 20 points and 14 rebounds. Still, it didn’t matter. 

The Numbers Behind The Aces’ Offense

The Aces bench doesn’t have to show out. And if two first-team All-WNBA selections from a season ago — Plum and Parker — don’t shoot the ball well, then so be it. The Aces can always lean on the other three starters: A’ja Wilson, Chelsea Gray and Jackie Young. All of which were recently selected to be WNBA All-Star starters — Wilson was voted a team captain.

The 88 points it took to defeat the Fever Monday night — the third win of the season over Indiana so far and 11th straight over the franchise — marked the lowest amount Las Vegas had scored since their June 8th loss to Connecticut. In their lone loss of the season, Las Vegas posted just 77 points, the only time the Aces have dipped below 80.

The Aces scored 90+ points in each of their first five games this season, the only team in league history to do so. On top of that, the Aces are the first team in league history to outscore their opponents by 200+ points in the first 13 games of the season.

Heading into Monday night, Las Vegas boasted the highest average scoring margin in league history at +15.9 PPG. According to the team, “In the WNBA’s first 26 years, the team that led the league in scoring differential during the regular season won the championship 19 times. The five teams that had a positive double-digit scoring differential all won the title.”

The Aces offense has been historically dominant. However, Las Vegas not only tops the league in offensive rating, they are second in defensive rating as well. 

The Aces rank second in the league in points in the paint, largely thanks to reigning MVP Wilson who is averaging 19.6 PPG. 

Not only is Las Vegas dominating in the paint, they are also shooting the second-highest three-point percentage in the league. With shooters like Young, Plum and Gray (plus Riquna Williams when she returns from a back injury), Las Vegas keeps defenses on their toes.

The Point Gawd Leading the Aces’ Offense

Becky Hammon’s style of play is fast, and the Aces are long, athletic and talented. When you combine all of those things with a heightened pace, it becomes difficult to contain.

Then there’s the “point gawd” Chelsea Gray, who seems to pull daggers out of thin air in crucial moments and sink them into the hearts of defenders. Monday night, Gray did just that with a flurry of pull-up jumpers. 

When she’s not sinking daggers, Gray is dropping dimes. One electrifying behind-the-back pass caught the eye of the basketball world last week as she fed Wilson at the rim.

Gray’s prowess as a floor general is paramount for Hammon’s fast-paced system to work. When you have a point guard with the shot making capabilities of Gray and you pair that with another quartet of all-stars beautifully weaving together a winning song every night, the melody is heavenly. 

The Aces’ offense is made up of some of the most dominant offensive players in the league and they are led by perhaps the WNBA’s best coach. All of that makes for a team that is awfully difficult to beat.

Even when some stars are off, the Aces find ways to get wins. And at 13-1 to start the season, it doesn’t look like Las Vegas will slow down anytime soon.

A’ja Wilson Championship Trophy Bobblehead!

A'ja Wilson Las Vegas Aces

Vegas’ Ace in the hole is a champion! Celebrate the team’s heart and soul with this A’ja Wilson Las Vegas Aces 2022 WNBA Champions Bobblehead.

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About Ben McCormick

Ben McCormick is a sports writer from North Carolina. He has run independent blogs and begun writing for The Lead in 2023. He writes for The Daily Tar Heel as well, where he has worked since September of 2022.

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