The 2023 WNBA regular season has come to a close. The Aces clinched the No. 1 seed, hosted the All-Star game and rewrote both franchise and league records in coach Becky Hammon’s second year.
Here’s the Review-Journal’s list of the five most notable performances during the Aces’ historic 2023 regular season. For clarity, the Commissioner’s Cup championship game and the All-Star game are not being considered for this list.
5. Young’s career night
It only took Jackie Young one game to announce her intentions for the 2023 season. The 2022 Most Improved Player set a career high with 30 points on 66.7 percent shooting on the road against the Los Angeles Sparks May 25.
She did a little bit of everything, adding four 3s, three rebounds, four steals and a block in 35 minutes as the Aces won 94-85. Reigning MVP A’ja Wilson called Young “one of the best two-way guards in this league” after the game.
4. Wilson goes for 40
A’ja Wilson set her career-high scoring record twice during the 2023 regular season, starting with her 40-point performance during the Aces’ 113-89 win against the Mystics Aug. 11 at Michelob Ultra Arena. The reigning MVP was 17 of 25 from the field and had 24 points by halftime. She also grabbed 12 rebounds, had two steals and a block.
Aces All-Star guard Kelsey Plum praised Wilson as “just unguardable” because of her effort and competitiveness following the game.
3. Gray’s triple-double
The reigning Finals MVP scored 22 points to go with 11 rebounds and 11 assists as the Aces beat the Liberty 88-75 Aug. 17 at Michelob Ultra Arena. It was the second triple-double of Gray’s career and the first in franchise history since the team relocated to Las Vegas ahead of the 2018 season.
Aces coach Becky Hammon called Gray one of the most competitive people she knows. “You feel really good when Chelsea Gray is on your team,” Hammon said.
2. Plum’s efficient 40
Facing the Minnesota Lynx in Minneapolis July 9, Plum set the franchise’s scoring record for the first time since 2013 with the most efficient 40-point game the WNBA has ever seen.
Plum was 14 of 18 from the field and 6 of 9 from 3 in 31 minutes as the Aces beat the Lynx 113-89. She was also perfect from the free-throw line on six attempts and added four assists and two rebounds.
“She missed four,” Gray said. “That’s crazy.”
1. Wilson ties the scoring record
Was there any doubt which performance was going to come in at No. 1? A’ja Wilson tied the WNBA single-game scoring record with 53 points in a 112-100 win against the Atlanta Dream Aug. 22.
Wilson’s performance tied the record set by former Aces center Liz Cambage in 2018. Wilson did a majority of her damage at the free-throw line, going 20 of 21. She was also 16 of 23 from the field and added seven rebounds and four blocks.
Plum called Wilson “one of the greatest players of all time” following the game. Added Hammon: “She is just special.”