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Aces Secure Four Seed with 98-89 Win over Mercury

September 8, 2019 - Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) - Las Vegas Aces News Release

PHOENIX, AZ - The 2019 WNBA Playoff field is set, and Las Vegas earned a bye into the second round by virtue of their 98-89 victory over Phoenix, Sunday. As the four seed, the Aces will host the highest remaining seed coming out of the 5 vs. 8 and 6 vs. 7 First Round match-ups. The game will be played Sunday, September 15 at the Thomas And Mack Center. Tip is slated for 2 pm PT, and tickets are available at UNLVTickets.com.

KEY RUNS

First Quarter (Mercury 27, Aces 25)

Neither team led by more than two points in the entire quarter.

Second Quarter (Aces 52, Mercury 48)

Las Vegas turned a one-point lead, 41-40, into a six-point advantage with a 5-0 run late in the quarter

Third Quarter (Aces 76, Mercury 75)

The Las Vegas lead vaciliated between one and seven throughout the entire quarter.

Fourth Quarter (Aces 98, Mercury 89)

Phoenix went on a 6-0 run beginning with 4:20 to go in the game to turn a four-point Aces' lead, 87-84, into a two-point Merc advantage.

Las Vegas closed the game on a 11-0 run.

KEY STATS

Las Vegas turned the ball over 14 times, which Phoenix converted into 12 points. The Mercury turned the ball over 15 times, which the Aces turned into 18 points.

The Aces bench scored 33 points on 13 for 30 shooting from the field, including 3 for 9 from three-point range.

Phoenix went 4 for 20 from three-point range, while Las Vegas went 5 for 13.

The Aces outscored the Mercury 46 to 38 in points in the paint

Phoenix went 27 for 32 from the line, while Las Vegas made 19 of 22.

GAME NOTES

Liz Cambage scored in double figures for the 29th time this season (21 points), and 20 or more points for the sixth time this year.

A'ja Wilson scored in double figures for the 23rd time this season (20 points), and 20 or more points for the seventh time. She did not miss a shot (6 for 6 from the field, 8 for 8 from the free throw line).

Wilson and Cambage each scored 20 or more points for the second time this season. They are 2-0 in those games.

Dearica Hamby scored in double figures for the 21st time this season (12 points)

Kelsey Plum scored in double figures for the 17th time this season (10 points).

Carolyn Swords missed her third straight game undergoing concussion protocol

Epiphanny Prince scored the 3,000th point of her career with a three-pointer in second quarter.

Las Vegas is now 27-1 over the last two seasons and 15-0 this year when out-shooting and out-rebounding an opponent.

The Aces are 8-0 on the year when making more threes than their opponents.

POSTGAME INTERVIEWS

Bill Laimbeer - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8AGwSxqGIc&feature=youtu.be

A'ja Wilson - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAy8zIUpAZM&feature=youtu.be

Liz Cambage - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99X_9jC0Tiw&feature=youtu.be

POSTGAME QUOTES

ACES HEAD COACH BILL LAIMBEER

(On the journey throughout the season...)

"The season kind of went how I expected it to. A lot of ups and downs, trying to understand each other and learn how to win. We had our moments we looked very good, and moments where we looked really bad. All in all, to take the fourth seed and have a bye in the first round and a home game. We will take it."

(On two wins over playoff opponents to end the year...)

"After the Atlanta game I was disappointed and worried, still worried. You always worry about it as a coach. I thought Liz (Liz Cambage) stood up tonight played a very good game coming off a foot injury. We played well and rebounding was the key for us tonight."

(On multiple players contributing on offense...)

"Well when you lock in like we did tonight, move and share the ball good things happen. I think that was a big positive for us. I thought Hamby (Dearica Hamby) did a good job of being efficient out there. Everyone seemed to make a shot when it was necessary."

ACES CENTER LIZ CAMBAGE 21 POINTS | 9 REBOUNDS

(On playing against Brittney Griner...)

"Yeah it is fun, the refs just let us do our thing when we play against each other. We have big love for each other. So it is a lot of fun playing against Brittney."

(On keys to pulling away in the fourth quarter...)

"We just had to focus on us tonight and brining our energy, and just getting it done defensively and offensively. I think we really did that tonight."

(On heading into the playoffs...)

"It has been a bit inconsistent, but if we can keep this energy and consistency heading into playoffs, I think we can go really far. Got our eyes on the prize but just have to take it each game as they come."

ACES FORWARD A'JA WILSON 20 POINTS | 1 ASSISTS

(On the team's play heading into the postseason...)

"I think we are just where we need to be, but we still have a lot more growth to get together. I think this is great momentum heading into playoffs of course, against a great Phoenix team that doesn't let up. You know it is hard in our league. Every single night you never know what is going on so you have to be on your "A" game. I think we we're kind of getting there. Kind of at our peak but just not yet. That is good heading into the playoffs."

(On what was working well for Cambage and Wilson to both score 20+ for only the second time this season...)

"Honestly just taking what the defense was giving us, and just letting the game come to us. We didn't really force anything. Our guards really payed attention to us and kept getting it inside. We have to credit them for putting us in the best situation to score the basketball."

(On the defensive performance despite Phoenix's near 50% shooting...)

"B+ right there. Think it was pretty good. We of course had some mental lapses there, but that's just the cause of everything going on. I think we did a pretty good job of just handling them. Seems like every time you think we got a stop, we were still down like one or up by one. Credit Phoenix in the way they played some great basketball."

MERCURY HEAD COACH SANDY BRONDELLO

(On the effort today...)

"I thought we had consistent effort for most of the game. I was happy with it. Obviously not the result, but they executed a little bit down the stretch and a few out of bounds calls should have been our way, but we won't go into that again. I just thought everyone that hopped onto the court had an aggressive mentality on both ends of the floor and that's what we need. We're going into someone else's arena who we've lost both games there. It's single elimination and we need to make sure every possession counts and anything can happen. Whoever plays the best on that day gets to continue the season."

(On having five players with double-digit scoring...)

"We're the best when we have multiple people in double figures. I think every game we've played that we've had four, I think we've won every single time. When we've had two we've lost everything. I think (Brittney Griner) was great, but everyone knows she's great and they're going to put a lot of emphasis on her. We need everyone being aggressive and taking their shots. I thought we did that tonight. I thought Briann January - it was a really good offensive game for her. I know she's also great defensively, but she made good decisions with the ball. I thought (Yvonne Turner) was very good at both ends of the floor, putting her in the right situations where she's got a little space to get to the rack. (DeWanna Bonner) getting some wide open looks there. She just has to make a few threes. That's what we want. She can make them, we know she's capable of that. Everyone just being aggressive and taking what defensive gives us and having good ball movement around that. I thought for the most part we did a pretty good job tonight."

(On going into Chicago after losing both games against them...)

"It doesn't matter. Chicago's playing really well. They're playing so well. They've got so many scorers, they've got physical post players, they rebound well, they're athletic, they've got one of the best point guards in the league just controlling everything. In a one game knockout situation as long as we can limit what they want to do and make them feel uncomfortable anything is possible. We didn't win at Connecticut last year and we went in there and won. We've been in these situations before so we're not looking at it like "Oh we haven't won," because you just go and play. We're going to believe. We know we can do this. It's not easy, no game is easy. Anyone can beat anyone in this league so we just have to make sure that it's our night."

MERCURY CENTER BRITTNEY GRINER.........................................................................24 POINTS | 3 REBOUNDS

(On if energy today was up...)

"The energy was great actually, It was a really good game. We come out and play like that, just asking more to it, we will be fine in Chicago. Our track record is pretty good in single elimination games, we are going to try and get this going as far as I can."

(On how experience in single elimination games will play into Wednesday...)

"It is bittersweet, sweet because we always win them but bitter because we are in that same situation again. We have to break it one of those years but we are here and we know what we have to do. We have to go into Chicago and get a win."

(On how team is able to step up energy in single-elimination games...)

"It reminds me of College. Reminds me of NCAA time, win, stay, lose, go home. As much as you get paid overseas, none of us are really excited about going overseas. We want to get this win."

MERCURY FORWARD CAMILLE LITTLE 4 POINTS | 1 REBOUND

(On feelings heading into last playoffs...)

"I felt safe. I just want to win games that is it. It is not really a thing where I am worried about the last one, I do not even think about that. I just want to enjoy all of it. I am worried about us playing well and winning games."

(On if today's effort will carry into playoffs...)

"I think today was much better than the last few games. Again, some shots that we really hoped were going to fall, but did not fall. Some out-of-bounds ball bounces did not bounce our way they scored on kind of hurt us towards the end. I felt good about how we played today, how we competed on defense and moved and rotated with each other, it felt good."

(On how team responded in a playoff-like game...)

"I think overall we have just wanted to play better. We know we can play better. I think our mindset the last couple of games have been much better."

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