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Aces Move Back into Third Place With, 92-86, Come-From-Behind Victory over Sparks

September 1, 2019 - Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) - Las Vegas Aces News Release

LAS VEGAS, NV - For the fourth straight game, the Las Vegas Aces found themselves trailing by double digits, but this time they were able to flip the script, outscoring Los Angeles 34-20 in the fourth quarter en route to a 92-86 victory.

KEY RUNS

First Quarter

Los Angeles outscored the Aces 15-7 over the first 6:54 of the quarter.

Second Quarter

The Sparks scored the first three points of the quarter to go up 10, 26-16, but the Aces countered by s coring the next eight to slice the lead to 26-24. Los Angeles scored the next eight points to push the lead back to 10.

Third Quarter

None

Fourth Quarter

The Aces scored the final four points of the third quarter, and the first seven of the fourth to reduce a 12-point deficit to just one, 66-65.

Las Vegas still trailed by four, 70-66, with 7:11 on the clock, but scored 18 of the next 20 to go up by 12, 84-72. The Sparks scored the next seven points, but were never able to get closer than four the rest of the way.

KEY STATS

Las Vegas turned the ball over 17 times, and Los Angeles turned them into 18 points. Meanwhile the Sparks turned the ball over 7 times and the Aces turned them into 2 points.

Las Vegas out-rebounded Los Angeles 48 to 27.

The Aces made 47.7 percent of their field goal attempts, while the Sparks made 40.3 percent of theirs. In the fourth quarter, Las Vegas made 78.6 percent of its shots, while Los Angels made 38.9 percent if its shots.

The Aces bench outscored the Sparks bench 44 to 15. Conversely, Los Angeles starters outscored Las Vegas' 71 to 48.

Las Vegas made 23 of 32 free throws, while the Sparks made 14 of 17.

GAME NOTES

Dearica Hamby scored in double figures for the 20th time this season (12 points). She added 12 rebounds for her 9th double-double of the year.

Kayla McBride scored in double figures for the 25th time this season (14 points)

A'ja Wilson scored in double figures for the 21st time this season (24 points). She added 12 rebounds for her third double-double of the year.

Carolyn Swords did not play due to concussion protocol.

Epiphanny Prince played her first game of 2019, scoring 10 points on 4 of 6 including 2 or 3 from three-point range.

Kelsey Plum scored in double figures for the 16th time this season, and 20 or more points for the second time (20 points). She scored 17 of those points in the fourth quarter.

Kelsey Plum tied the franchise record for most points in a quarter with 17 in the fourth (Becky Hammon, September 6, 2011, San Antonio at Los Angeles; Becky Hammon, July 3, 2012 San Antonio vs. Phoenix)

Riquna Williams hit six 3-pointers in the first half

Riquna Williams scored in double figures for the 11thtime this season

Riquna Williams scored a season-high 37 points

Riquna Williams tied her own franchise record with seven 3-pointers, a record Chelsea Gray tied on 8/29/19 against the Indiana Fever

Candace Parker reached double-figures in scoring for the 10th time this season

Chelsea Gray reached double-figures in scoring for the 25th time and the 17th straight game

The Sparks gave up a season-high 34 points in the fourth quarter.

The Aces 34 points in a quarter (4th) are the second most they have scored in a quarter this season (35 in the first quarter vs. New York on June 14.

NEXT GAME

Las Vegas finishes out the regular season with two games on the road beginning with a September 5 game at Atlanta.

PLAYOFF PICTURE

With the win, Las Vegas moves into third place, a-half-game ahead of Los Angeles, and a-game-and-a-half ahead of fifth place Chicago.

POSTGAME INTERVIEWS

Bill Laimbeer - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUw-1UGWEL4&feature=youtu.be

A'ja Wilson & Kelsey Plum - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbHXEz4BuDw&feature=youtu.be

POSTGAME QUOTES

Las Vegas Aces A'ja Wilson and Kelsey Plum

Kelsey - In the 4th quarter you can't miss. Your team comes from behind, you made the most crucial game of the season up to this point and the crowd is going wild for every shot that you made. What does that feel like?

KP: I'm really trying to work on not being too high or too low. There's been a lot of low points for me this year - personally and professionally. I think just being able to continue to have that confidence in yourself, that know I can do this and I'm here for a reason and that type of belief. It's not easy because you fail a lot in this league. Everyone is so good. The last time we played LA, I was 3 for 13, the time before I was 0 for 8 and the time before that I was 3 for 10. I don't forget about that stuff and so I think for me, it's just continue to stay aggressive and I'm just so grateful that I have teammates who always believe in me and encourage me. And that's what I was thinking.

After starting the game and being at the free throw line eight times, what did you see for yourself and the rest of the team. Bill has mentioned about the team learning how to win, playing tough, playing hard. What did you see for the rest of the game from that point on.

AW: It was one of those games where you just have to find things in the flow of the offense. Getting the understanding of if the initial pass isn't there, we have to look for the next one. And that's really what was my mindset. Honestly, going to the line that many times I was like 'oh my gosh.' I'm so competitive that I'm like 'ok, I want to nail them. I want to get that.' So that was my biggest thing, but I have to give it to my teammates. They really put me in the best situations to create those shots and to get to the free throw line. And that's what it's all about it. Just finding the flow in our offense and getting the things done- the little things of our offense and also on the defense end as well.

Did it feel like a playoff atmosphere tonight at The House?

AW: Oh yeah. Definitely, like my ears were ringing at one point. The crowd was always there, always engaged and I think that's what makes our fans the best fans in the league. It's because they bring it every single night. We were down and some crowds would have gotten quiet, but they still stayed with us so big shout out to The House tonight.

Bill was just here saying that a lot of your notes from your play today was partly to do with Epiphanny Prince coming on...maybe taking a note from her skills to kind of give you that surge that you had in the 4th. Do you feel in agreeance with him? Do you think that kind of attributed to you having just nine points by the end of the 3rd quarter and then making over 17 points at the end of the game.

KP: Absolutely! I think Piff is an incredible scorer and the way she gets her shots off. Even over the last few days, I'm just trying to pick up little things. She came in the game and she was super aggressive and gave us that boost. And it kind of opened up the floor because that's another shooter that hit - I think she hit three threes - so the defense is higher and the lanes are wider. And she's a vet- we have a young team, we need veteran leadership so great pickup for us. We're really excited to have her.

Kelsey, what's the experience like being able to play in games right before the playoffs actually start and second how do you want to finish the season? What types of things with seeding out of your control at this point what types of things do you want to focus on to be sharp at the end of the year?

What an opportunity - I've never been in the playoff race before so it's really exciting. I think every game is extremely important. I don't know about the tiebreaker, but we'd like to win the rest of our games and we can do that by having our defense and intensity. I think we hit shots, but we got stopped in the 4th quarter. We got rebounds when we needed it. In this league, you have to be able to slow people down. We tried to slow Riquna down and it didn't work, but other than that I thought we did a pretty good job as a team playing defense. That's our mission going forward.

You mentioned the defense. Williams obviously had an amazing night. You held Gray 3 of 13 shooting. Candace Parker 6 of 14 shooting. Can you talk about the defensive effort that went on to hold the rest of the Sparks down.

AW: I think it just honestly came from Coach. Coming back from that road trip he said we have to get back into being the defensive team that we were at the beginning of the season. We were very strong-minded and our straight up team defense. I think that was a big deal for us. We trust each other. We knew that everyone was going to be there. And that's what it's all about...really just team defense and knowing that the person behind you is going to help so you've got to play your hearts out up front.

Los Angeles Sparks Head Coach Derek Fisher

Coach Derek Fisher on tonight's game...

"We didn't maintain a level of discipline and the attention to details in the fourth quarter that it takes to win on the road. That's something we'll continue to focus on and tighten up for when we play on the road against good teams. Winning three quarters isn't good enough sometimes and we didn't finish the game the right way."

Coach Derek Fisher on the race for the number one spot in the west...

"It's hard to win on the road in the WNBA. It could be viewed as an advantage; we still have to go out and play and finish this season the right way, one game at a time. Nobody is quitting on the season, teams that are in the playoffs have a reason to play every game by fighting for position, teams that have young players are playing hard. Home court advantage or not, we have to focus on what we can control and that's our performance."

Coach Derek Fisher on preparing for the playoffs...

"We start to clutter our mind with a lot of noise, outside voices, external factors, and things you can't control. In games you have to be able to control your emotions and focus on the things you can control like boxing out, closing out with your hands up, not fouling jump shooters, taking the right angle on defense, cutting hard offensively, and controlling every decision the right way. In order to win it all, that's what you have to be able to do."

Los Angeles Sparks Guard Riquna Williams

Riquna Williams on tonight's game...

"We stopped being disciplined at the end and went away from what was working. Nneka Ogwumike going down hurt us a little with the inside presence."

Riquna Williams on the race for the number one spot in the west...

"I like our odds over any team, that's just how it goes, whether it's home or on the road."

Riquna Williams on coming short despite a high scoring night...

"It's basketball, it means nothing if you can't get the win but at the end of the day, we're a team. It doesn't say Riquna Williams on the jersey, it says LA Sparks, that's who I play for.

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