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Aces remain undefeated with decisive win over Lynx

Aces coach Becky Hammon thought Sunday’s 94-73 win over the Minnesota Lynx had all the makings of a trap game.

The Aces were playing their third game in four days. They were coming off the emotional highs of the team’s banner ceremony Saturday. The Lynx were searching for their first win, extra motivation to go with playing the reigning WNBA champions.

“I’m thinking, ‘OK, this is a classic letdown game,’” Hammon said.

Instead, the Aces rolled at Michelob Ultra Arena. Wing Jackie Young led all scorers with 23 points and went 4 of 8 on 3-pointers, and reigning MVP A’ja Wilson scored 21 on 60 percent shooting. Point guard Chelsea Gray contributed 19 points and 10 assists as the Aces improved to 4-0.

“This team has not given me any reasons to think they will not show up on any given night,” Hammon said. “No matter the circumstances, they come to compete, they come to play and they play hard.”

The Aces have won three games by 21 points or more and are the WNBA’s only undefeated team after the Dallas Wings’ 94-88 loss to the Chicago Sky on Sunday. The Aces have scored at least 93 points in all four games.

Lynx forward Napheesa Collier had 21 points and 10 rebounds, and guard Tiffany Mitchell scored 16.

The Aces return to action Friday at the Atlanta Dream.

Here are three takeaways from the game:

1. Young stays hot from 3

It’s rare for a player to go 4 of 8 on 3s and see her shooting percentages drop, but it sums up how efficient Young has been from behind the arc. She was shooting 60 percent (9 of 15) entering the game.

Wilson said Young’s shooting is a testament to her work. She extended her range to the 3-point line in 2022, which led to her winning the league’s most improved player award and making her first All-Star appearance.

But Wilson said teams still didn’t give Young respect and dared her to shoot 3-pointers.

“Jackie kind of took the way people played her last year personal,” Wilson said. “You can tell that, and she’s going to make you guard her now.”

2. Clark settling in

Veteran wing Alysha Clark didn’t score in double figures in her final seven regular-season games with the Washington Mystics last season. She has scored at least 10 points twice with the Aces.

Clark had 11 points on 50 percent shooting against the Lynx and went 3 of 7 on 3s. She missed the 2021 season with a foot injury and spent parts of 2022 trying to rediscover her rhythm. She said she’s healthy now.

Clark also credited the confidence her teammates gave her, adding they encouraged her to keep shooting even after she air-balled a shot against the Lynx.

“When you have people that believe in you that way, it makes it easy,” Clark said.

3. Gray’s double-double

Gray reached double figures in assists for the first time this season. The Lynx played a lot of zone defense in the second half, and Hammon complimented Gray for staying composed and setting up the offense.

Hammon said Gray does a great job reading defenses from the top of the key and putting teammates in good positions.

“That was just her in analyzation mode,” Hammon said.

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

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