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Aces in a defensive funk as they visit Los Angeles

Oct 2, 2020; Bradenton, Florida, USA; Las Vegas Aces center A'ja Wilson (22) plays defense during game 1 of the WNBA finals against the Seattle Storm at IMG Academy. Mandatory Credit: Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports

The league-leading Las Vegas Aces hit the road on Monday, looking to prevent their first losing streak of the season from extending to three games when they visit the Los Angeles Sparks.

Las Vegas (13-4) has dropped consecutive games for the first time, both at home. After allowing the biggest comeback in WNBA history to reigning champion Chicago on Tuesday, falling 104-95 after building a 28-point advantage, the Aces lost to Washington in overtime on Saturday 87-86.

Las Vegas did not have media availability following Saturday’s loss, the result of the arena being evacuated due to smoke. Following the historic defeat to Chicago, however, Aces coach Becky Hammon cited defensive breakdowns for fueling the loss in her postgame press conference.

“What got us our lead was not our offense. It was our defense,” she said.

The Aces lead the league in scoring at 91.2 points per game, the result of five players averaging between 12.5 points per game and Kelsey Plum’s team-best 20.2 points. The defense has allowed at least 84 points in each of its last four outings, however.

The last time it held an opponent to fewer points than its season average of 83.2 points per game was in an 89-72 victory at Los Angeles on June 11.

The Sparks (7-10) dropped that decision, the second of two losses to Las Vegas this season, amid a three-game skid.

Los Angeles has gone 2-1 since with wins over Washington last Tuesday, 84-82, and an 85-77 road victory Saturday against the Seattle Storm, who came in having won six of their previous seven.

“I’m just glad we were able to string together four quarters of consistent play,” said Nneka Ogwumike following her 24-point performance against the Storm.

Ogwumike scored 16 points in the previous meeting with Las Vegas, but the Aces held her to just 5-of-13 shooting from the floor. A’ja Wilson went for 35 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks to lead Las Vegas.

–Field Level Media