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Kelsey Plum, Aces visit Sabrina Ionescu and Liberty

Sportsnaut
Jul 10, 2022; Chicago, Ill, USA; WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert presents the WNBA All Star Game MVP Award to Team Wilson guard Kelsey Plum at Wintrust Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

On Sunday afternoon, Kelsey Plum and Sabrina Ionescu paired up to lead Team Wilson to a convincing victory in the WNBA All-Star Game.

But Sunday’s teammates will be Tuesday’s foes as the playoff race resumes with Plum’s Las Vegas Aces visiting Ionescu and the New York Liberty.

Both teams lost their first-half finales. Las Vegas fell to the visiting Liberty 116-107 last Wednesday while New York completed a three-game West Coast swing a night later by dropping an 84-81 decision to the Phoenix Mercury.

The Aces (15-7) finished the first half with the WNBA’s second-best record, one game behind the Chicago Sky. The Liberty (9-13) enter the season’s second half in 10th place but they are only one game out of sixth.

This is the second of three straight games against the Liberty for the Aces, with the teams meeting again Thursday in New York.

The in-season rivalry was paused Sunday when Plum earned MVP honors by scoring a game-high 30 points and Ionescu added 19 points, six rebounds and six assists as Team Wilson — selected by the Aces’ A’ja Wilson — rolled to a 134-112 win over Team Stewart, selected by the Seattle Storm’s Breanna Stewart.

“I was a kid in a candy store,” Plum said, per ESPN. “I’m having fun running; I could have just run up and down (the court) the whole time and I would have been content.”

It was the first WNBA All-Star Game for Plum and Ionescu, who provided a glimpse of the future as longtime stars Sue Bird and Sylvia Fowles participated in the showcase for the last time.

“It was nice. It’s always great being able to share the court with the best players,” said Ionescu, who also won the Skills Challenge on Saturday. “A lot of us that are young and kind of new in this league have been able to watch what these veterans have done and how they’ve conducted themselves on and off the court. They’ve given us the keys to be able to take this where we want to go.”

Team Wilson featured five players from the Aces or Liberty. Las Vegas teammates Wilson and Dearica Hamby each had 10 points, five rebounds and one assist, while New York’s Natasha Howard added eight points and two boards.

The Aces’ Jackie Young started for Team Stewart and had two points.

–Field Level Media