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Aces look to bounce back from shellacking in New York

Aces star A’ja Wilson has a rule after games: After 24 hours, she begins focusing on the next challenge, no matter whether the previous outing was a momentous victory or a brutal defeat.

The Aces are certainly coming off the latter.

“This league does not wait for anyone,” Wilson said Sunday. “This was just one of those games.”

The Aces lost only their third game Sunday, falling 99-61 to the New York Liberty at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. They have a chance to bounce back Tuesday when they face the Dallas Wings at College Park Center in Arlington, Texas.

“It is what it is,” said Wilson, who had one of her worst games, scoring nine points on 2-of-14 shooting. “At the end of the day, we’ve got to go back to the drawing board.”

The loss wasn’t just another defeat. It was the lowest scoring outing of the season for the Aces (24-3), and the 38-point deficit set a franchise record for the largest margin of defeat since the organization moved to Las Vegas in 2018.

Point guard Chelsea Gray said the Aces, particularly the guards, needed to rebound better and help the forwards. But she was happy with the team’s shot selection and said Sunday was just a rough shooting day.

Coach Becky Hammon admitted she didn’t mind watching her team get blown out. She said every team can use a reminder about how quickly dominance can slip away.

“You’ve got to go out and prove it, every moment you’re out there,” she said.

The Aces will face the Liberty often in the coming weeks. New York travels to Las Vegas for the Commissioner’s Cup Final on Aug. 15, then plays a regular-season game Aug. 17 at Michelob Ultra Arena. The final matchup between the two title favorites is Aug. 28 at Barclays Center.

But first things first. The Wings (15-13) are one of three teams to defeat the Aces, getting 21 points from guard Arike Ogunbowale in an 80-78 home victory July 7.

Hammon said she hopes her team’s wake-up call against New York will resonate.

“You can’t dwell on the negative too long,” she said. “That’ll be my job. I want them always, when they come out of the locker room, to feel confident and rested and ready to go.”

Contact reporter Andy Yamashita at ayamashita@reviewjournal.com. Follow @ANYamashita on Twitter.

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