Las Vegas Aces survive New York Liberty 4th quarter run

Las Vegas Aces survive New York Liberty 4th quarter run
Oct 4, 2020; Bradenton, Florida, USA; Las Vegas Aces head coach Bill Laimbeer reacts to a call during game two of the 2020 WNBA Finals at IMG Academy. Mandatory Credit: Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports

In a matchup of two of the top five teams in the WNBA, the Las Vegas Aces came out victorious beating the New York Liberty 94-82.

With the win, Aces head coach and former NBA champion Bill Laimbeer won his 288th game as a head coach passing former Los Angeles Sparks and Seattle Storm Brian Agler to move into second place on the WNBA career wins list.

The Aces get back in the win column after their three-game win streak was snapped by the Connecticut Sun improving to 6-3 on the season. Meanwhile, the Liberty have now lost consecutive games for the first time this season dropping to 5-3.

Reigning WNBA MVP A’Ja Wilson had her best game of the season so far. She finished with a season-high 30 points along with 13 rebounds, five assists and three blocks. She is one of only two WNBA players to ever put up these numbers in a game (Candace Parker).

Jackie Young scored 16 points while Dearica Hamby came off the bench to record 13 points and nine rebounds. Liz Cambage finished with 12 points, six rebounds and two steals while Chelsea Gray posted 11 points and nine assists.

Aces fourth-year guard, Kelsey Plum, returned to the lineup for Las Vegas from playing in the FIBA 3×3 Olympic Qualifier for Team USA. She played 13 minutes off the bench recording four points, three rebounds and two assists. This was her third game back since missing last season with an Achilles tendon injury.

Betnijah Laney led the Liberty with 23 points, five rebounds and three assists followed by Rebecca Allen who came off the bench to score 16 points. Sami Whitcomb finished with 14 points, five rebounds and five assists while reigning Rookie of the Month Michaela Onyenwere scored 11 points.

It was a rough night for Sabrina Ionescu as she shot 2-for-13 from the field scoring just five points but did add nine rebounds and nine assists.

The Aces led the game wire-to-wire getting off to a hot start outscoring the Liberty 14-5 in the first 3:05 of the game. They would continue to put the pressure on the Liberty ending the quarter up 30-16.

The second quarter began as more of the same for the Aces as they pushed their lead up to 19 points within the first three minutes. This time, however, the Liberty began to battle back outscoring the Aces 14-2 to cut the lead to seven points.

The Liberty would cut the deficit down to four points but would end the half down 52-44. Rebecca Allen was big in the second quarter for the Liberty scoring 14 of her 16 points in the period.

It was in the third quarter that A’Ja Wilson, who scored 16 points in the first half, took over scoring 10 points in the period. In spite of this, the Liberty were able to keep the game close snuffing out the Aces’ third quarter runs but still went into the final quarter down 75-67.

The fourth quarter saw the Liberty come the closest to taking the lead cutting the Aces to one point with 4:00 remaining in the game. The Aces, however, responded well finishing the game on a 14-3 run on their way to victory.

One of the biggest factors in the Liberty’s loss was their inability to take care of the ball and failure to capitalize off the Aces’ turnovers in the fourth quarter. In the fourth, the Liberty committed five turnovers to the Aces’ four. In the ensuing possession following Aces turnovers, the Liberty turned the ball over in response twice and missed shots following the remaining two.