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LAS VEGAS (June 24, 2024)—Fresh off of wins over 2 of the top 4 teams in the league, the Las Vegas Aces head to Chicago, Thursday, June 27, for their first meeting against the Sky in 2024.

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After splitting their first 12 games of the year, the Aces knocked off the fourth place Seattle Storm, 94-83 (recap/box score), and the front-running Connecticut Sun, 85-74 (recap/box score), to improve to 8-6 heading into the Commissioner’s Cup break.

A’ja Wilson scored 27 and 26 points respectively in the wins, extending her WNBA-record streak of scoring 20 or more points to 19 straight games. She leads the WNBA in scoring (27.8 ppg) and rebounding (11.6 rpg) while ranking 2nd in blocks (2.43 bpg), 6th in steals (1.86 spg), and 8th in field goal percentage (.524). Her scoring average would shatter the league record of 25.3 points per game set in 2006 by Diana Taurasi.

Wilson’s teammates, Jackie Young (18.2 ppg) and Kelsey Plum (18.1 ppg), are also among the top 10 scorers in the league, and the trio is on pace to score more points than any three teammates in WNBA history.

Their success has helped Las Vegas to the second most efficient offense in the league at 105.8 points per 100 possessions. The Aces also turn the ball over less frequently than any team in the WNBA (.147 TO%).

Las Vegas has improved its defense over the last 2 games as well, holding Seattle and Connecticut to 96.3 points per 100 possessions, dropping their season-long DER to 103.0. The Aces are the best defensive rebounding team in the league, grabbing 76.9 percent of available defensive boards, but opponents are still connecting on a league-high 38.9 percent of their 3-pointers against them.

Following an 18-22 season in 2023, the Sky had a roller coaster of an offseason, trading leading scorer Kahleah Copper to Phoenix, while losing Courtney Willliams and Alanna Smith to Minnesota during free agency. They added to their roster via the 2024 WNBA Draft, selecting Kamilla Cardoso with the No. 2 overall pick, and Angel Reese with the No. 7 selection.

Reese is already breaking league marks having strung together a WNBA rookie record 7 consecutive double-doubles from June 4 to present. Her 11.1 rebounds per game are challenging Tina Charles’ record for most boards per game by a rookie (11.7), and Reese’s 13.2 points per game are second among 2024 newcomers. Cardoso missed the first 6 games of the season with an injury, but is averaging 9.3 points and 7.2 rebounds per game since returning to the lineup.

Chicago also added Chennedy Carter as a free agent during the offseason. The 5-9 guard spent her first 3 years in the league in Atlanta and Los Angeles, but issues with her conduct ended her time with both organizations, and caused her to go unsigned during the 2023 campaign. She is averaging a career-high 14.3 points per game and making 55.3 percent of her shots from the field as a member of the Sky.

Marina Mabrey is the top returner for Chicago, and the 6th-year pro is averaging a team-high 14.5 points and career highs in rebounding (5.3 rpg), assists (4.1 apg) and steals (1.4 spg).

Despite all of that firepower, Chicago ranks seventh in the league in offensive efficiency at 98.4 points per 100 possessions. The Sky are 8th in the league in field goal percentage (.426) and 10th in 3-point field goal percentage (.301), but they are the second best offensive rebounding team in the WNBA, grabbing 34.7 percent of all available O boards.

Chicago boasts the 5th most efficient defense in the W (99.6 DER), and is particularly effective out on the perimeter, holding opponents to 32.2 percent from the field from distance.

Las Vegas has won 6 consecutive games against the Sky, including a 2-game sweep in the first round of the 2023 WNBA Playoffs. Of those victories, 5 have been by double figures.

Tyler Butler