WNBA: Sparks edge Aces for first back-to-back wins of season

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Dearica Hamby finished with 18 points, 10 rebounds and five assists, and the Los Angeles Sparks recorded back-to-back wins for the first time this season after dispatching the visiting Las Vegas Aces 96-92 on Sunday night.

Rickea Jackson and Aari McDonald scored 16 points apiece for Los Angeles (4-7), which recovered from a 15-point deficit in the first quarter to defeat the two-time defending WNBA champions.

A’ja Wilson registered 31 points, eight rebounds and a season-high six blocked shots for the Aces (5-4), who have dropped three of their past four games.

Wilson scored at least 20 points for the 14th consecutive game, breaking the league record she shared with Diana Taurasi (2006-07).

Kelsey Plum scored 24 points and Tiffany Hayes had 17 off the bench for Las Vegas. Kate Martin added 13 for the Aces, who continue to play without Chelsea Gray (foot) while fellow All-Star Jackie Young (illness) also sat out Sunday.

The contest was a Commissioner’s Cup game for both teams. Los Angeles is 2-2 and Las Vegas is 1-2 in such matchups.

Los Angeles led 78-71 after Stephanie Talbot’s jumper with 8:29 left in the contest. The Aces then exploded for 11 straight points, including the last five by Plum, to take an 82-78 lead with 4:24 remaining.

The Sparks answered with eight in a row, capped by back-to-back 3-pointers by Rae Burrell, to take an 86-82 advantage with 2:47 to play.

A three-point play by Jackson gave Los Angeles a 91-86 lead with 1:42 remaining.

The Aces later moved within 94-92 on Wilson’s 3-pointer with 1.2 seconds left, before McDonald made two free throws to seal it.

Los Angeles made 49.2 percent of its shots, including 10 of 25 from 3-point range.

The Aces connected on 44.1 percent of their attempts and were 11 of 26 from behind the arc.

The Sparks used a 16-6 run at the outset of the third quarter to take a 59-50 lead on Kia Nurse’s 3-pointer with 5:39 remaining.

The lead was 67-57 after Cameron Brink drained a trey with 3:21 left in the quarter, and the Sparks later took a 74-65 advantage entering the final stanza.

Las Vegas started the game strong with 14 straight points and later led 22-7. Los Angeles took its first lead at 30-28 on Jackson’s basket with 6:21 left in the second quarter.

Wilson had 16 points in the first half for the Aces, who led 44-43 at the break.

–Field Level Media

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