Star Players Put On A Show
That is more like it. After a quiet series opener for A’ja Wilson of the Las Vegas Aces, the expected duel between the front-runners to win the regular season Most Valuable Player award materialized.
Wilson had 33 points while Breanna Stewart of the Seattle Storm answered with 32 points. Bench points were in short supply as 9 of the 10 starters played more than 30 minutes.
Look for more of the same in the pivotal Game 3 with the semifinal series shifting to Seattle after Las Vegas won Game 2 78-73 to hand Seattle its first loss of the postseason.
Las Vegas has the best odds at +150 to win the WNBA championship according to the playoff odds. Seattle’s odds come in at +350. Before Game 1, the odds for the odds were -110 compared to +425 for the Storm.
The series price for Las Vegas to reach the WNBA finals moved from -240 to -160 while Seattle’s odds went from +200 to +140 since the start of the season.
Big 3 Deliver at Perfect Time for Las Vegas
There was no way that Wilson was going to be held to less than 10 points for the second game in a row. After managing eight points in the series-opening loss, Wilson reached double figures with 6:47 left in the second quarter.
— Las Vegas Aces (@LVAces) September 1, 2022
The two times that Wilson was held to less than 10 points during the regular season, she responded in a major way with 24- and 35-point efforts. Right on cue, she finished with 33 points as Las Vegas evened the series. Chelsea Gray and Kelsey Plum added 19 and 18 points with Gray chipping in with seven assists as the Aces won their most important game of the season.
Wilson has averaged 10 field-goal attempts during the first three postseason games and it was evident that the play was to get the former MVP more involved as she had a team-high 18 field goal attempts.
Las Vegas is 16-4 when Wilson attempts at least 15 shots. Naturally, the Aces will look to follow the same script in Game 3.
Something to consider for those who bet online, the total has gone under in four of the last five road games for Las Vegas.
Guards Need To Bounce Back for the Storm
The frontcourt duo of Stewart and Tina Charles certainly did enough for Seattle to be heading back home against the top-seeded Aces with a 2-0 lead. The former UConn All-Americans combined for 49 points and 16 rebounds in Game 2.
However, after strong opening contests for guards Jewell Loyd and Sue Bird, it was a different story in the second game. Loyd and Bird missed all four of their 3-point attempts and finished 4 of 15 from the field in the 78-73 loss. In the opening game, Loyd had 26 points and that included 10 in the fourth quarter while Bird had 12 assists and no turnovers in a three-point win at Las Vegas.
Loyd won’t need to score 26 points for Seattle to win Game 3 but it would help if the Storm perimeter players contributed more than they did on Wednesday.
Another issue is trying to limit the Aces’ trips to the foul line. Seattle made and attempted more field goals than Las Vegas and had the same number of 3-pointers in Game 2. The main difference was that Seattle made all 11 of its foul shots while Las Vegas was 18 of 23 from the line in the contest.
Seattle has covered against the WNBA betting lines in five of its last seven games.
Aces vs Storm Game Information
- Game: Aces 26-10 (3-1 in the playoffs) vs Storm 22-14 (3-1 in the playoffs)
- Location: Climate Pledge Arena, Seattle
- Day/Time: Sunday, Sep 4, 3:00 p.m. ET
- Live Stream: WNBA League Pass
Aces vs Storm Betting Lines
|Ev||167½ -110o||83½ -115u|
|Storm||-1 -110||-120||167½ -110u||84½ -115u|
Aces vs Storm Prediction
Las Vegas could get forward Dearica Hamby back for Game 3. She hasn’t played since being limited to three minutes in a 97-90 win against Atlanta on August 9.
The Aces have relied on a six-player rotation in the postseason without Hamby or 6 1/2 if you consider Iliana Rupert playing 15 minutes in the first two games of the series.
Rupert and Kiah Stokes have scored a combined seven points and added 12 rebounds in the two games. Hamby had a game with 10 points and 19 rebounds against Seattle earlier this season.
Hamby is listed as questionable for the game even though Las Vegas coach Becky Hammon said that she could have played in Game 2. Seattle’s Gabby Williams is questionable as she works her way back from a concussion.
Wilson, Gray, and Plum are averaging 20.5, 20, and 19 points per game. The Aces could use more from Jackie Young who is shooting just 26.7% in the series. Reserve guard Riquna Williams has also struggled to make shots in the first two games of the series.
Seattle also has just three double-digit scorers in the series. Stewart leads the way at 28 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3 blocked shots. Loyd is contributing 17 points while Charles is putting up 15 points and 13.5 rebounds in the first two games.
Las Vegas has covered six of its last eight road games and is 7-2 straight up in the last nine games away from home.
Seattle has won eight of its last nine home games and that is a major reason why the Storm is a slight favorite. However, facing the top-seeded Aces is no easy task regardless of where the game is played.