July 4, 2024 

Locked On Women’s Basketball: A’ja Wilson dominates and Las Vegas Aces accelerate

'When [Wilson] scores 28, that's normal. It sounds wild, but it's just her'

In the latest episode of Locked On Women’s Basketball, The Next’s Natalie Heavren welcomes Matthew Walter, The Next’s Las Vegas Aces beat reporter, to discuss the Aces’ season so far.

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The Aces opened the season 6-6, but they’ve since won five straight games, which is tied for the longest active winning streak in the WNBA. Getting point guard Chelsea Gray back from injury helped, but so did a commitment to defense. Walter explains how a postgame press conference from star forward A’ja Wilson when the Aces were 6-6 was a turning point:

“Wilson came to the press conference and was very emotional. She was like … ‘I just want to see us succeed.’ And A’ja Wilson is normally a very stoic person. So to see her get this emotional was very surprising. And since that moment, just the the energy has shifted.

“Obviously Gray has come back, but they just seem to have bought in a little bit more on defense. And somebody asked her, ‘What has changed? What has been the difference?’ She said, ‘We just wanted to play harder. We weren’t doing things the right way. We weren’t being ourselves.’ And they just made a change.”

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Wilson is averaging a WNBA-best 27.0 points along with 11.0 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 2.5 blocks and 1.9 steals per game. Walter talks about Wilson’s stellar play this season:

“When she scores 28, that’s normal. It sounds wild, but it’s just her. … That’s a normal game for A’ja Wilson. And I think you’re seeing the development of her bringing the ball up, and that’s allowed her to do some things. Like [on Tuesday], Kiah Stokes had a block and the ball went to A’ja, and A’ja just went coast to coast and got an and-one layup. And that’s something that you would never have seen in A’ja two [or] three years ago. But she’s developing that part of her game. And I think she’s understanding, especially early without Chelsea, she had to be the leader. She had to be the person doing the work.”

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