A’ja Wilson scores 29 points and grabs 15 rebounds, leading the Las Vegas Aces to a 99-80 victory against the Indiana Fever

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A’ja Wilson reacts in the game

Rookie Caitlin Clark may be seen as the WNBA’s upcoming talent, but A’ja Wilson demonstrated on Saturday why she’s possibly the league’s current top player. Wilson’s impressive performance with 29 points and 15 rebounds led the Las Vegas Aces to a 99-80 victory over the Indiana Fever.

Clark, on the other hand, had a challenging night, scoring only eight points on 2-of-8 shooting and facing six turnovers. This was her lowest scoring game as a professional, compared to her usual average of 16.7 points.

For Indiana, Kelsey Mitchell led the scoring with 16 points, followed by Temi Fagbenle with 13, and Aliyah Boston and Lexie Hull each contributing 12 points.

Wilson, a two-time league MVP, showcased her dominance by making 12 of 18 shots and achieving her fourth consecutive 20-point, 10-rebound game, equalling a WNBA record held by three others.

Reflecting on her performance, Wilson highlighted her improved strategy this season, aiming to dissect the defense and find better scoring opportunities.

Additionally, Jackie Young scored 22 points and Kelsey Plum contributed 20 for the Aces, while rookie Kate Martin, a close friend and former teammate of Clark from Iowa, recorded a personal best of 12 points, showcasing her skills with two 3-pointers, a three-point play, and three successful free throws from one foul.

Caitlin Clarks passes the ball to her teammate

Clark and Martin happily approached each other and embraced before the game.

“We’re both living our dreams right now,” Martin expressed. “We always wanted to reach this point, and now we are. We’re grateful for this opportunity and it’s amazing to experience it with your best friend.” Another former Hawkeye, Megan Gustafson, is part of the Las Vegas team.

Their former coach, Lisa Bluder, watched from the sidelines. Bluder, who retired on May 14 after 24 years leading the Hawkeyes, was accompanied by her successor, Jan Jansen.

“It’s amazing to see them all on the court together tonight,” Bluder remarked before the game. “When you witness someone achieving their dream, it’s incredibly satisfying to think you played a small part in it. It’s the best feeling. It’s why we’re here.”

Clark was one of five No. 1 draft picks in the game, along with teammate Boston and Las Vegas’ Wilson, Plum, and Young. Additionally, the top four women’s scorers in NCAA Division I history — Clark, Plum, Las Vegas’ Dyaisha Fair, and Mitchell — participated in the game.

Caitlin Clark reacts after a play

The game happened in front of a full crowd of 10,399 people, just a bit shy of the Aces’ attendance record at Michelob Ultra Arena. At the season opener against the Phoenix Mercury, the Aces drew 10,419 fans while celebrating their second championship win. So far, 16 out of the 20 home games for the Aces have sold out, setting a league record.

The WNBA schedule didn’t make it easy for Clark and the Fever. This was Indiana’s seventh game in 12 days, and their third in four days. It was also their fifth away game and their fifth game against teams that played in the last two WNBA Finals.

Boston expressed relief that this challenging stretch was over. “Being on the road and facing tough teams has been difficult,” she said. “But it’s preparing us for what’s ahead this season.”

In contrast, Las Vegas had only played four games, all at home. The Aces looked comfortable playing in familiar surroundings, bouncing back from their recent loss to the Mercury. They took an eight-point lead at halftime after outscoring the Fever 22-10 in the second quarter. By the end of the third quarter, they had a commanding 72-56 lead.


By Ritik

Ritik Katiyar is pursuing a post-graduate degree in Pharmaceutics. Currently, he lives in Srinagar, Uttarakhand, India. You can find him writing about all sorts of listicle topics. A pharmaceutical postgrad by day, and a content writer by night. You can write to him at [email protected]

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