(Photo credit: Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports)
A'ja Wilson set a single-game franchise playoff scoring record as the Las Vegas Aces moved a step closer toward their second straight WNBA title with a series-clinching 92-70 win over the visiting Chicago Sky in Game 2 of the best-of-three first-round playoff series on Sunday.
The reigning league MVP scored 38 points to surpass current Aces coach Becky Hammon, who held the previous franchise record with 35 points. Wilson also grabbed 16 rebounds and bundled four blocks with three steals before she left the game with 3:49 remaining after being poked in the eye going for a loose ball.
Las Vegas got 15 points from Jackie Young, 14 from reserve Alysha Clark and 10 from Kelsey Plum. Kiah Stokes chipped in 10 rebounds for the top-seeded Aces, who will face either the fourth-seeded Dallas Wings or the fifth-seeded Atlanta Dream in the best-of-five semifinals beginning next Sunday. Dallas leads Atlanta 1-0 in their first-round series.
Kahleah Copper led Chicago with 25 points and 10 rebounds, while Dana Evans supplied 22 points off the bench. Elizabeth Williams' 10 boards matched Copper for the team lead.
The Sky never led in either game during the series and finished the season 0-5 overall against Las Vegas.
Wilson scored eight straight points for Las Vegas in less than two minutes during a second-half surge that ballooned the Aces' lead to 67-39 at the 1:54 mark of the third quarter.
Chicago mounted a furious 17-2 run to begin the final period and shaved its deficit to 71-62 on Evans' bucket with 6:26 to play, but Las Vegas' ensuing counterpunch buried the Sky for good.
Chelsea Gray followed Evans' score with a 3-pointer and Wilson churned out five more points before Plum and Clark drained back-to-back triples to bring an emphatic end to a 14-0 run that pushed the Aces' advantage to 85-62 with 3:51 to go.
Las Vegas' intensity overwhelmed Chicago in the first quarter as the Aces jumped ahead 23-14 after one. Evans' layup at the halftime buzzer cut the Sky's deficit to 44-29 at the break.
--Field Level Media