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Jun 12, 2024 8:58 pm

Aces look to shake off adversity while visiting Mercury

a'ja wilson

The two-time defending champion Las Vegas Aces will try to snap their first three-game losing streak since 2019 when they face the host Phoenix Mercury on Thursday night.

Las Vegas (5-5) is coming off Tuesday’s 100-86 loss to the Lynx, letting all five Minnesota starters score at least 14 points. A’ja Wilson led the Aces with 28 points and eight rebounds, with Kelsey Plum adding 13 points.

“This is a long, long, long season,” Wilson said after extending her WNBA record streak of 20-point games to 15. “I’m not going to press the panic button. I’m still going to bet on us. I know exactly what’s in that locker room.”

Meanwhile, Phoenix (6-6) has won three of its past four games. The Mercury have received a boost from center Brittney Griner, who has been back for the past two games after missing the first 10 due to a fractured toe.

After putting up 11 points and four boards in an 81-80 victory over the Lynx last Friday, Griner built off her season debut by supplying 24 points and nine rebounds as Phoenix downed the Dallas Wings 97-90 in double overtime on Sunday.

Griner also had five assists and two blocks against Dallas. Kahleah Copper paced the Mercury with 29 points, and Diana Taurasi chipped in 20.

“We’re just going to keep building, keep getting better and keep locking in,” Griner said after her first game of the year. “I need to get my timing down, get these butterfinger hands ready.”

Thursday marks the third meeting of the season between the teams. The Aces and Mercury split the first two games of the season series, both of which were played in Las Vegas. The Aces prevailed 89-80 on May 14 in the season opener for both teams before Phoenix responded with a 98-88 victory exactly a week later.

Following the win over Las Vegas, the Mercury beat the Washington Mystics, then went through a four-game losing streak before the current hot stretch.

Aces coach Becky Hammon is hoping that her team can cool off Phoenix, but she is more concerned about getting back to playing winning basketball — something Las Vegas has constantly done over the past two years.

The Aces are already one loss away from matching their total from 2023, when they went 34-6.

“We’re a fun group, but losing sucks,” Hammon said. “We got to put the work first. The trust, I’m not quite sure why the trust isn’t there. But that’s something we know we can fix and work on. We know each other well. We’ve been through battles.”

–Field Level Media

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