Las Vegas Aces Drop Season Opener to Seattle 97-83

Las Vegas Aces opener Seattle Storm
Image: AP/Elaine Thompson

The Las Vegas Aces tipped off the 2021 season in a rematch against WNBA Finals foes the Seattle Storm on Saturday and it wasn’t pretty. The Aces struggled despite some stellar individual performances by key players.

Las Vegas Aces head coach Bill Laimbeer is never one to hold back. After his team lost the WNBA season opener 97-83 against the defending champion Seattle Storm, Laimbeer quickly assessed the reason why Las Vegas had trouble against Seattle in a rematch of last season’s WNBA Finals.

“We played hard enough but not smart enough,” Laimbeer said after the loss.

Las Vegas wasted another stellar performance by reigning WNBA MVP A’ja Wilson who scored 24 points, and center Liz Cambage who scored 16 in her first game back since 2019.

The Aces jumped out to a nine-point lead early but were outscored 45-31 in the second and third quarters as the Aces struggled on the defensive end. Las Vegas defensive rotations were slow, allowing easy layups, giving up too many open shots. The Storm shot 50% from the field and 44% from the 3-point range.

Las Vegas Aces Top Scorers

Outside of the great nights by Wilson and Cambage, the Aces guard play struggled a bit and had trouble scoring from the backcourt. Chelsea Gray scored seven points and looked out of sync most of this night. It will take some time for Las Vegas to gel with Cambage back and Gray on the team as the chemistry is a work in progress. The guards did take care of the ball as the Aces tallied only six turnovers.

Kelsey Plum is back from her Achillies injury and scored 11 points off the bench. There were also flashes by Ji-Su Park who missed last season to stay in her native South Korea during the pandemic to improve her game. Park showed off some nice post moves, scored four points, and grabbed four rebounds. Laimbeer liked what he saw for Park.

“I Was very happy for Ji-Su coming in and playing some quality minutes in time coming back,” Laimbeer said of Park. “She’s only 22 years old. I think she will be a keeper.”

Laimbeer asked for patience for the Aces as they work their way back into playing shape. The Aces and Storm go at it again on Tuesday at 7pm in Seattle.