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Aces' Magic Number for Elimination Reduced to Two with 89-73 Loss to Minnesota

August 10, 2018 - Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) - Las Vegas Aces News Release

LAS VEGAS, NV (August 9, 2018)- Las Vegas' margin for error continues to shrink in the race for the final WNBA playoff spot, as the Aces' magic number to be eliminated was reduced to two Thursday evening thanks to an 89-73 loss to the Minnesota Lynx. Now any combination of two Dallas' wins or Aces' losses would put the Wings in the postseason and end Las Vegas' playoff hopes.

W L Pct GB

Seattle - X 23 8 .742 -

Atlanta - X 20 10 .655 3.0

Washington - X 19 11 .633 3.5

Los Angeles - X 18 12 .621 4.0

Connecticut - X 17 12 .586 5.0

Minnesota - X 17 13 .567 5.5

Phoenix - X 16 14 .533 6.5

Dallas 14 15 .483 8.0

Las Vegas 12 18 .400 10.5

Chicago 10 19 .345 12,0

New York - O 7 22 .241 15.0

Indiana - O 5 24 .172 17.0

X - clinched playoffs O - eliminated from playoffs

Date Opponent W L

August 11 vs. Indiana 5 24

August 15 vs. New York 7 22

August 17 at Dallas 14 15

August 19 vs. Atlanta 20 10

KEY RUNS

The Aces led 11-4 with 6:24 to go in the first, but the Lynx went on a 9-2 run to tie the game,.

It was a tie game at 28 with three minutes gone in the second when Minnesota scored 11 of the next 14 points to take an eight point lead, 39-31.

The Lynx had a six-point lead, 57-51, with 3:31 to go in the third, and scored 11 consecutive points to go up by 17.

Las Vegas cut the lead to eight by scoring 10 of the first 13 points of the fourth quarter but could get no closer as the Lynx went on a 14-2 run to build their largest lead of the night at 20 points.

KEY STATS

The Aces allowed an opponent to connect on 50 percent or more of their field goal attempts for the fourth straight game. The Lynx made 50.0 percent compared to 37.5 percent for Las Vegas.

Minnesota made 8 of 19 shots from long distance compared to five of 14 for Las Vegas.

The Lynx out-rebounded the Aces 40-30

Las Vegas made 20 of 22 shots from the free throw line compared to 9 of 13 for Minnesota.

GAME NOTES

A'ja Wilson (18 points) reached double figures in scoring for the 29th straight time to start her WNBA career.

Kayla McBride had her streak of 24 straight games scoring in double figures snapped (7 points)

Kelsey Plum (11 points) reached double figures in scoring for the 11th time this season.

Tamera Young (16 points) reached double figures in scoring for the 16th time this season.

Danielle Robinson left with an injury with 5:59 to go in the second quarter and did not return.

Lindsay Whalen (rest) and Rebekah Brunson (injury) did not suit up for the Lynx.

Minnesota clinched a playoff berth with the win.

Lynx Notes

The Lynx used a 27-18 advantage in the third quarter, including 10 points from Maya Moore to give them an 89-73 victory over the Las Vegas Aces at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. With the win, Minnesota has clinched a spot in the 2018 WNBA Playoffs, its eighth straight postseason appearance, the longest active streak in the WNBA.

With the win, Head Coach Cheryl Reeve (212 career wins) passed Van Chancellor for the most wins with a single franchise in WNBA history.

Maya Moore led the way for the second straight game for the Lynx, finishing with a game-high 34 points on 12-of-19 shooting including a season-high 5-of-7 from deep and five assists. Tonight was Moore's second straight 30+ point performance and fourth of the season (franchise-leading 24th of her career).

Sylvia Fowles dominated on the glass tonight on her way to her league-leading 19th double-double of the season. Fowles finished with 10 points and a game-high 19 rebounds.

Her 11 defensive rebounds in the first half are a new franchise record for any half. Previously, Fowles had nine twice, most recently in the second half vs. Dallas on May 19.

With 19 total rebounds, Fowles now has 356 boards on the season, breaking her own single-season-franchise record for most rebounds in a season (354, 2017).

Tanisha Wright stepped up big tonight when Danielle Robinson went down with an ankle injury and did not return. Wright stuffed the stat sheet tonight, finishing with a season-high 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting, seven rebounds and six assists. The seven rebounds are her most since grabbing seven boards at Indiana on August 23, 2015 and the six dimes are the most since dishing out six on July 21, 2016.

Minnesota held Las Vegas to 37.5% (24-of-64) shooting. Tonight was the second straight game and the sixth time this season the Lynx held an opponent to under 40% shooting. Minnesota is 100-3 since 2010 when holding an opponent to under 40%.

For the second straight night, the Lynx finished shooting at or above 50% from the field, shooting 50% (36-of-72) against the Aces. Tonight marked the eighth time this season shooting 50% or better and fifth time away from Target Center when doing so.

Minnesota held its largest lead of the night at 20, 87-67 with 2:16 left in the four quarter, moving to 119-0 and 10-0 this season when leading by 20 or more.

Aces forward A'ja Wilson

On being home/fatigue from trip:

"It feels good to be home, we had a tough week but we overcame it. It's just really good to be home; we just have to get back into the swing of things mentally. I think this is the part where you really have to lock in on the little things. That makes the biggest impact on the court and also (factoring in) the mentality of it all. We have to regroup and come together to get our mentality back on track."

On Maya Moore

"Yeah it's very tough (playing Maya), once she gets going it makes it 10x harder to defend her but she's a great player and you have to respect her at all aspects. She can play the 4 and 3, so you have to respect her ability to score the basketball. You can throw different looks at her but at the end of the day it's tough and they got the win."

On moving forward/making playoff push

"We go back to the drawing board tomorrow. We have practice, so just getting back into the swing of things is important. We really can't hang our head down about this loss, we really just have to keep pushing especially when trying to make a playoff push. You really don't know what's going to happen, it's like march in the NCAA. So for us to just keep reaching for our playoff goals and see that light. We have to listen to the 24 hour rule and turn the page to get back at it because we have another game Saturday."

On practice

"We haven't (practiced) since the all star break. It's been a moment since we've been in the gym and that's pretty much it. It'll be good to have some practice time, even if it's simple and just getting shots up and getting back into the flow of things."

Aces guard Tamara Young

On turning defense around:

"I think the communication has to be there, we have to play together collectively on defense. In helping each other out, we have to be connected; one person goes to help someone else, another person has to have a ripple effect."

On team mental hangover:

"I think it just comes with being a professional athlete. You have to win games on the road and games at home so we can't use that as an excuse for our lapse of tonight. We just have to be more mature and communicate and bring the intensity every single game. It's our profession and job, it's what we have to do.

On what changed in shooting from first to second half

"Just touches and being aggressive. Lately I've been kind of passive but tonight I told myself I was going to be more aggressive and help the team out more. This is like a playoff time and this is like a playoff game and we need to win each game. The second half was a little different, the ball wasn't swinging to me as much trying to get others involved and that's just what it is. I like to be aggressive but not force anything.

On Maya/Sylvia:

"Maya did great things like Maya used to do in the past. She was hitting her three ball shot tonight, when we played her before obviously she pump faked and tried to get to the basket. She was doing a little bit of everything tonight: attacking, jump shots, making threes. Sylvia, the same. She dominates the paint but we knew that. Our game plan was to get the ball out of her hands and be more aggressive with her."

Head Coach Cheryl Reeve

On the playoff-clinching win:

Overall, I thought, defensively, we were very difficult to play against. That was the mission. We knew we had our hands full. We didn't succeed in keeping A'ja Wilson off of the foul line but I thought that we made her shots and touches more difficult. I like what we did there. I'd have to go back and watch the film to see how we were able to have success against [Kayla] McBride. I thought we were hard to play against. I thought we were really focused offensively. When we got our stops I thought we cashed in a far amount against a pretty good defensive team. We had a key injury with Danielle Robinson. We were already sitting Lindsay Whalen out of the game so that was tough. Tanisha Wright stepped up big time for us. She was really good for us, calling her own number and getting us organized. We were able to answer any run that Vegas tried to throw at us.

On eight straight playoff appearances:

That's what we told our team. Just making the playoffs is not a goal. It is the first step. We've always been mindful through the years to celebrate every success because sometimes you start to take it for granted and time passes you by and you don't have enough appreciation for it. I think the longevity of it comes from the collection of players that have stuck together in a time where the grass could be greener or maybe somebody wants more of a role. This group has just stayed together. It speaks to their commitment and greatness. I'm just fortunate to be the one on the sidelines with them during that run. It's special, there's no doubt about.

On the team being ready for the postseason:

That toughness that we played with tonight, if we're in a playoff game, that's exactly the kind of toughness that we need. I do like what we've been showing over the last couple of games. Danielle Robinson has been playing well and we're trying to get her a bigger role. Unfortunately, she went down tonight but I like where we are. We've certainly had our share of ups and downs but this is a decent time for us to be playing with this kind of toughness.

Starting Forward Maya Moore

On clinching the playoffs on the road or a matter of getting it done:

Getting it done whenever. It's something that we don't take for granted and it doesn't just happen especially in a season like this. The race is so close and everybody's been competing so hard to get one step closer to our goal and it's something that we're going to celebrate.

On playing like the championship caliber team you've been used to:

I think we have a clear understanding of when we do certain things and we're locked in it together. It's really fun to play and it's really hard to beat us. Just really proud of the way we stepped up and just understanding who we are, what we're trying to get and just how much fun it is who we are locked in especially on the defensive end because that's what gets us where we need to go no matter if the shots fall in or not. If our defense is stingy as it was tonight, we're going to have a really good chance.

On Tanisha Wright tonight:

So happy that she was able to come in and just show what she can do. She's someone in the offseason that when I found out she said yes to come aboard, I was so excited because I knew it was going to be days like this when we were going to need here. Just her leadership, communication and her toughness really show that she can play the game. Just really proud and energized by her play and her wiliness in certain moments and her poise in certain moments was really fun to be on the court with her.

On the last two games scoring a combined 65 points after recent three-game skid:

I just try to stay locked in. I know that any moment anything is possible especially me on this team. Just try to do my best to get my body in mind ready to go. Again, when our team is playing like that, anything is possible for any of us. I was happy to play well obviously when the ball goes in it feels great but knowing that I do more than just score but it obviously feels good what I do.

Guard Tanisha Wright:

On tonight's performance:

Just taking what they gave me. A lot of the shots I got were shots within our offense and shots that we're encouraged to take daily from our coaching staff. It was really just a matter of taking what the defense gives you and being able to knock them down.

On playing like the championship caliber team you've been used to:

We hope so. I think as long as we come out and we're really focused and laser sharp on what the game plan is and what we need to execute both offensively and defensively in order to win games. We put ourselves in a really good position night in and night out.

On digging in shorthanded clinching a playoff spot:

Everybody's going through that though. We're not different than anybody else but right now we're in the zone and really need to focus on ourselves and focus on getting better each and every night and what it's going to take to play at a high level each and every night. Just people locked in and going their job.

On mindset having to change filling in for Danielle Robinson:

The only thing that really has really changed now is I have to think a little bit ore in terms of what we're running and how to execute who needs touches and what that looks like. That's the biggest chunk and because I haven't been playing it the whole season, it doesn't come as natural. That's really it and it's like play calling without having to always look at Cheryl (Reeve) and be like, "what to do want" so we can get a flow and understanding of if we run this way or that way, this is the look that we'll get.

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