Aces Take on Fever

Steve Marcus

Las Vegas Aces center Kiah Stokes (41) defends against Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark (22) during the first half of an WNBA basketball game at Michelob Ultra Arena in Mandalay Bay Saturday, May 25, 2024.

Updated Saturday, May 25, 2024 | 10:33 p.m.

A’ja Wilson didn’t want fans coming to Michelob Ultra Arena on Saturday for the Aces game against the Indiana Fever “to see something that’s not us.” 

So, Wilson and her teammates followed through by putting on a show.

Wilson recorded 29 points and grabbed 15 rebounds to power the Aces to a 99-80 win over the Fever and rookie sensation Caitlin Clark. 

The Aces defense did the rest in limiting Clark to a season-low eight points.

“It didn’t matter who we played this weekend. It was going to be the fact that we could get it done on the defensive end,” Wilson said. 

Clark set scoring records during a historic collegiate career at Iowa, but made just 2 of 8 field goal attempts and had six turnovers against Las Vegas with the Fever playing the second leg of back-to-back games.

Las Vegas rookie Kate Martin outscored her former Iowa teammate with 12 points, and the Aces’ Jackie Young scored 24 points. It was Young’s fourth straight game with more than 20. Kelsey Plum added 20 points and a game-high seven assists.

“I was just taking what the defense was giving me,” Martin said. “I really wasn’t trying to do too much. I was just trying to get to my spots and make the right reads.”

Clark and Martin spent a few minutes talking on the court during pregame warmups. They are two months removed from leading Iowa to the national championship game.

“She’s the ultimate teammate and the ultimate leader,” Clark said during an interview before the game. Clark additionally described her former teammate as being an elite player. 

While most eyes were on Clark, Las Vegas players remained steadfast that the game was about Aces getting back to their winning ways.

Aces coach Becky Hammon was looking for a strong response from the defense after a 10-point loss to the Phoenix Mercury on Tuesday. She got it.

The two-time defending league champions limited the Fever to 42% shooting. In the second quarter, the Fever scored just 10 points.

“We actually wanted it,” Wilson said. “In the past games, wins and losses, we didn’t want it and we just thought we could out-score, but this league is too good to do that. 

“Tonight, we actually wanted to play defense. That loss against Phoenix kind of woke us up.”

The Aces open a three-game road trip Wednesday at the Minnesota Lynx (NBA TV), playing away from Vegas for the first time this season.

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