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Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

A’ja Wilson of the Aces scored 24 points and grabbed 20 rebounds in the first game with the score 20-20

By meerna Jul11,2024
A’ja Wilson of the Aces scored 24 points and grabbed 20 rebounds in the first game with the score 20-20

SEATTLE — A’ja Wilson scored 24 points and grabbed 20 rebounds in her first career game as her team claimed a 20-20 victory and the Las Vegas Aces beat the Seattle Storm 84-79 on Wednesday.

It was the 21st 20-20 game in WNBA history. Wilson is second in Aces franchise history, following Natalie Williams (Utah Starzz, 2001).

Wilson, who also had four blocks and three steals while also grabbing 20 rebounds, said: “I think that’s the side that I personally see as defense.

“It’s crazy, if you asked me about my rookie year, I’d be like, ‘What’s defense? I never play it.’ But I learned that defense wins games and championships. I really have to be that focused.”

Wilson joins Sylvia Fowles (2021) as the only players in WNBA history with 20-point, 20-rebound, 3+ steal and 3+ block games, both against the Storm.

Wilson is second in the WNBA in rebounding (11.3 rpg) behind Chicago Sky rookie Angel Reese (11.9), so she’s used to seeing big numbers on the boards. But not this big.

“Get 20 rebounds? My shot wasn’t going, so I thought, ‘I have to do something here. I didn’t go to Seattle just for cardio,’” Wilson joked. “So it turned out to be rebounding.”

Also on Wednesday, it was announced that Wilson will be the WNBA athlete on the cover of the NBA 2K25 video game, set to be released in September. Aces coach Becky Hammon said she texted her son, Cayden, to tell him.

“When I saw the cover photo, I took a screenshot and sent it to him. He’s just pumped up because he loves Jayson Tatum, too,” Hammon said of the Boston Celtics star who is the NBA’s cover athlete. “But A’ja has his heart. He kicks my ass; I stopped playing (NBA 2K) because I’m so terrible.

“But it’s such a cool honor. It’s like when I was on the Wheaties box. She deserves everything. She knows I’m super proud of her.”

Jackie Young scored 27 points, including a 3-pointer from the corner with 4:32 left in the third quarter to give Las Vegas a 48-45 lead. Young also scored on the Aces’ next three possessions during a personal 9-0 run to build a 54-45 advantage.

Wilson hit a controversial free throw with 48.2 seconds left for an 82-76 lead. Jewell Loyd was fouled on a 3-point attempt at the other end but made all three of her free throws to bring Seattle to within three points.

“Get 20 rebounds? My shot wasn’t going, so I thought, ‘I have to do something here. I didn’t go to Seattle just for cardio.’ So it turned out to be rebounding.”

Aja Wilson

The Storm had a good chance to tie the score on their final possession, but Nneka Ogwumike missed an open 3-pointer and Loyd was wide of the mark. Wilson grabbed the rebound and made two free throws.

Wilson had a scary moment when she was accidentally hit in the nose by Ogwumike in the third quarter and had to leave the game. She returned to the game a few plays later.

Las Vegas (14-7) improved to 8-1 on the season with Chelsea Gray in the lineup.

Gray finished with 11 points and six assists, and Kelsey Plum added 13 points for Las Vegas. Wilson had a double-double midway through the third quarter despite starting 3 of 10 from the field. Wilson set a career high in rebounds.

Loyd scored 28 points for Seattle (14-8). Skylar Diggins-Smith had 16 points and eight assists and Ezi Magbegor had 10 points and 10 rebounds. Ogwumike finished with just nine points, ending her streak of 23 consecutive games with double-digit scoring.

Las Vegas scored just 30 points in the first half, its second-worst showing of the season, behind only 28 by the Storm on June 7.

Michael Voepel of ESPN, ESPN Stats & Information and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

By meerna

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