The Las Vegas Aces dominated for much of the 2023 WNBA season, which earned them the number one seed in the playoffs, and sure enough, they stayed hot in Game 1 of their first-round series against the Chicago Sky. The Aces cruised to a comfortable 87-59 victory, and after the game, A'ja Wilson and Becky Hammon opened up on how the destruction of the Sky was possible.
Wilson, who is fresh off an MVP caliber campaign, didn't have to do a ton on offense in this one (14 PTS, 8 REB, 1 AST, 5-12 FGM) considering how four of her teammates also scored double digit points. After the game, Wilson opted to highlight Las Vegas' defense as the key to their victory, which is certainly fair considering how Chicago only scored 59 points on the night.
“When we get stops, and we can play out of that, that's beautiful basketball by the Aces.” – A'ja Wilson, ESPN
Wilson finished the night with four blocks, showing how she spearheaded her team's strong defensive outing. Hammon echoed similar sentiments after the victory, noting that the Aces have a ton of offensive talent, but when they play lockdown defense like they did on Wednesday night, that makes them nearly unbeatable.
“It's nice to get some easy ones. Our defense is really what allows that to happen for us. We have too good of offensive players if they get out in space. It's hard on the [opposing] defense.” – Becky Hammon, ESPN
With the quick best-of-three series, the Aces could advance to the semifinals if they are able to beat the Sky again on Sunday afternoon. If Las Vegas can come out and play a similar brand of hard-nosed defense in Game 2, it seems like a safe bet for them to quickly sweep Chicago out of the playoffs in just two games.