WNBA: Aces out to bounce back against last-place Wings

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The Las Vegas Aces were one of the WNBA’s hottest teams before losing to the Los Angeles Sparks 98-93 in overtime Friday night in Los Angeles.

The Dallas Wings were one of the coldest teams before defeating the visiting Atlanta Dream 85-82 on Friday night.

The two-time defending champion Aces (12-7) and the Wings (5-16) will meet Sunday afternoon in Las Vegas.

“They just came out and wanted it more than us essentially,” center A’ja Wilson said after Los Angeles became the first team to beat the Aces twice this season. “And we just didn’t get the job done.”

Wilson led Las Vegas — which had a six-game winning streak snapped — with 35 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks. But she and her four fellow starters were benched by head coach Becky Hammon after the Sparks, who had lost eight straight, took a 15-point lead early in the third.

“I didn’t see the intensity that I wanted to see,” Hammon said. “It was lackadaisical with the ball, lackadaisical on defense — I’m just not gonna watch it. So I sent a message with them. I put our second unit in a really tough spot, and they did great.”

The starters returned midway through the period and the Aces fought back in a game that featured 15 ties and 17 lead changes. But the Sparks had a 14-9 scoring edge in overtime as Jackie Young was the only Las Vegas player to score.

The Wings entered their game against Atlanta having lost 14 of their last 15, but head coach Latricia Trammell said she was encouraged by the team’s play in a 104-96 home loss to Phoenix on Wednesday night.

“We always talk about scoring, about being competitive,” Trammell said after Wednesday’s game. “We brought a lot of energy, and I was really proud of that.”

In Friday’s win over the Dream, Arike Ogunbowale led Dallas with 19 points.

“This is a good one for us, (giving us) confidence moving forward and taking that over to Vegas,” said rookie guard Jacy Sheldon, who scored a season-high 17 points in Friday’s win. “Continuing to play together and confidently is our focus right now.”

Sheldon gave credit to her teammates for her making five of the Stars’ seven 3-pointers.

“They made it easy for me,” Sheldon said. “They’re the ones who got me open and made the pass. The least I could do was make it.”

–Field Level Media

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