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The Las Vegas Aces Were Honored With Their Championship Ring Before Taking Down The Mercury 89-80

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Photo Credit: Elvin L. Anderson Jr.

Las Vegas, NV—–The Las Vegas Aces, defending champions of the WNBA, commenced their season in style with a hard-fought 89-80 victory over the Phoenix Mercury in a thrilling encounter at Las Vegas’ Michelob Ultra Arena.

Led by the dominant performance of A’ja Wilson, who poured in 30 points and 13 boards, the Aces showcased their championship pedigree. Coach Becky Hammon acknowledged that it was the early stages of the season and expressed confidence that the team would iron out any kinks as they progress.

Jackie Young and Kelsey Plum provided support, chipping in 23 and 19 points respectively for the Aces. Diana Taurasi spearheaded the Mercury’s efforts with 23 points, including seven successful 3-pointers, while Kahleah Copper and Natasha Cloud also made significant contributions.

Before tip-off, the Aces were honored with their championship rings, and a banner commemorating their past triumph was unveiled, adding to the electric atmosphere in the arena. The game witnessed a record attendance of 10,419 fans, including notable figures such as Tom Brady, Cathy Engelbert, and Antonio Pierce.

Photo Credit: Elvin L. Anderson Jr.

Brady, in a pre-game pep talk, encouraged the Aces to focus on their strengths and execute their game plan, rather than being burdened by the pressure of defending their title. Wilson echoed Brady’s sentiments, emphasizing the team’s need to remain focused despite the excitement of the season opener.

The Aces surged to an early lead with a 21-3 run in the first quarter, powered by Wilson’s stellar performance. However, the Mercury staged a spirited comeback, narrowing the gap to just one point at halftime. Phoenix capitalized on the Aces’ struggles from beyond the arc, making eight 3-pointers compared to Las Vegas’ solitary conversion in the first half.

As the game progressed, the Aces regained control in the fourth quarter, building a sizable lead before the Mercury mounted a late rally. Nevertheless, Las Vegas held their nerve down the stretch, sealing the victory with clutch free throws from Kiah Stokes and Young.

Despite missing key players like Chelsea Gray and Brittney Griner due to injuries, both teams showcased resilience and determination in a fiercely contested season opener.