“2023 WNBA Playoffs: Las Vegas Aces vs. Dallas Wings – Semifinal Showdown”
The 2023 WNBA playoffs have reached a pivotal stage, and as the competition intensifies, we find the Las Vegas Aces locking horns with the Dallas Wings in an exciting semifinal clash. The Aces, fresh off an impressive first-round performance, are aiming for back-to-back titles, while the Wings are looking to make a splash with a significant upset.
In Game 1 of the series, the Aces flexed their muscles, showcasing their dominance with a 97-83 victory. Their fast-paced game and relentless defense allowed them to establish a commanding lead that proved insurmountable for the Wings. As the only undefeated team in the postseason, the Aces are clearly in top form.
The defending champions started their playoff journey with a resounding victory over the Chicago Sky, and they are now setting their sights on becoming the first team to achieve back-to-back titles since the 2001 and 2002 Los Angeles Sparks. The Aces’ performance in the first round was nothing short of impressive, with a point differential of 50 and no moments of trailing.
For the Dallas Wings, the road to the semifinals was a bit more challenging. They had to rally from a 20-point deficit in Game 1 against the Atlanta Dream but ultimately secured a series sweep in Game 2. This victory marked the Wings’ first playoff series win since 2009, and they are now in the midst of their most promising season in over a decade. To advance further, they will need to pull off a significant upset against the formidable Aces.
Series Details: (1) Las Vegas Aces vs. (4) Dallas Wings
- Game 1: Aces 97, Wings 83 (Aces lead series 1-0)
- Game 2: Wings at Aces, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 10 p.m. ET – ESPN
- Game 3: Aces at Wings, Friday, Sept. 29, 9:30 p.m. ET – ESPN 2
- Game 4:* Aces at Wings, Sunday, Oct. 1, TBD – TBD
- Game 5:* Wings at Aces, Tuesday, Oct. 3, TBD – ESPN U (*If necessary)
Key Players to Watch: Aces: Kelsey Plum
While A’ja Wilson is undoubtedly the Aces’ standout player, the one to keep a close eye on in this series is Kelsey Plum. With her outstanding performance during the regular season, where she averaged 23 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 5.7 assists, Plum presents a significant challenge for the Wings. Her scoring ability and versatility could make her a pivotal factor in the series.
Wings: Arike Ogunbowale
Arike Ogunbowale, a rising star for the Wings, is facing the biggest moment of her career. The Wings will rely on her scoring prowess and smart shot selection to combat the Aces’ fast-paced game. Ogunbowale will also need to step up on the defensive end to slow down the Aces’ potent backcourt.
Crucial Series Elements:
The 3-Point Battle
Three-point shooting has become a deciding factor in modern basketball, and this series is no exception. The Aces, known for their proficiency from beyond the arc, will face the Wings, who struggled with three-point shooting during the regular season. The Aces boast a more accurate and versatile team, making them a formidable force in this department.
The Aces’ backcourt, including Chelsea Gray, Kelsey Plum, and Jackie Young, poses a significant challenge to the Wings’ defense. In regular-season meetings, the Aces’ backcourt trio displayed their scoring prowess, averaging nearly 60 points per game. To win the series, the Wings will need to find a way to slow down this dynamic Aces backcourt.
The Wings have excelled in offensive rebounding, grabbing an impressive 36.9% of their missed shots during the regular season. However, the Aces are strong on the boards and finished first in defensive rebounding rate. The Wings must maintain their rebounding dominance to maintain their scoring consistency in this series.
Prediction: Aces in 3
The Las Vegas Aces enter this series as heavy favorites, and for good reason. The defending champions’ combination of stellar defense, a potent backcourt, and reliable three-point shooting is a tough challenge for the Wings to overcome. While the Dallas Wings have shown great promise this season, their inconsistency on offense and defensive vulnerabilities make it challenging to see how they can secure a victory in this matchup. The Aces are likely to take the series in three games.