Wilson posts first career 20-20 game in Aces' win

SEATTLE — A’ja Wilson had 24 points and 20 rebounds for her first career 20-20 game and the Las Vegas Aces beat the Seattle Storm 84-79 on Wednesday.

It was the 21st 20-20 game in WNBA history. Wilson’s is the second in Aces franchise history, following Natalie Williams (Utah Starzz, 2001).

Wilson, who also had 4 blocks and 3 steals to go along with the 20 rebounds, said, “I feel like that’s the side I take personal, the defensive side.

“It’s crazy, if you would have asked me my rookie year, it was like, ‘What’s defense? I’m never playing it.’ But I learned defense wins games and championships for you. I really have to be that locked in.”

Wilson joined Sylvia Fowles (2021) as the only players in WNBA history with games of 20 points, 20 rebounds, 3-plus steals and 3-plus blocks. Both games came against the Storm.

Wilson is second in the WNBA in rebounding (11.3 RPG) to Chicago Sky rookie Angel Reese (11.9), so she’s used to big numbers on the boards. But not quite this big.

“Getting 20 rebounds? My shot wasn’t going so I was like, ‘I’ve got to do something out here. I didn’t travel to Seattle for just cardio,'” Wilson joked. “So it turned out to be rebounds.”

Also on Wednesday, it was announced that Wilson will be featured as the WNBA cover athlete of the NBA 2K25 video game to be released in September. Aces coach Becky Hammon said she texted her son, Cayden, to tell him.

“When I saw the cover picture I screenshot it and sent it to him. He’s just pumped, because he also loves Jayson Tatum, too,” Hammon said of the Boston Celtics star featured as the NBA cover athlete. “But A’ja has his heart. He kicks my butt; I quit playing [NBA 2K] because I’m so terrible.

“But it’s such a cool honor. It’s like back in the day being on a Wheaties [box]. She’s earned every bit of it. She knows I’m super proud of her.”

Jackie Young scored 27 points, including a 3-pointer from the corner with 4:32 left in the third quarter to give Las Vegas a 48-45 lead. Young also scored on the Aces’ next three possessions, during a personal 9-0 run, to build a 54-45 advantage.

Wilson sank a contested jumper from the free throw line with 48.2 seconds left for an 82-76 lead. Jewell Loyd was fouled on a 3-point attempt at the other end, and she made all three free throws to pull Seattle within three points.

“Getting 20 rebounds? My shot wasn’t going so I was like, ‘I’ve got to do something out here. I didn’t travel to Seattle for just cardio.’ So it turned out to be rebounds.”


A’ja Wilson

The Storm had a good opportunity to tie it on their final possession, but Nneka Ogwumike was short on an open 3-pointer and Loyd was well off on a heave from distance. Wilson secured the rebound and made two free throws.

Wilson had a scary moment when she was accidentally struck in the nose by Ogwumike in the third quarter and had to leave the court. She returned a few possessions later.

Las Vegas (14-7) improved to 8-1 this season with Chelsea Gray in the lineup.

Gray finished with 11 points and six assists, and Kelsey Plum added 13 points for Las Vegas. Wilson had a double-double midway through the third quarter despite starting 3-of-10 from the field. Wilson set a career high for rebounds.

Loyd scored 28 points for Seattle (14-8). Skylar Diggins-Smith had 16 points and eight assists, and Ezi Magbegor had 10 points and 10 rebounds. Ogwumike finished with just nine points to end her streak of 23 straight games in double figures.

Las Vegas was held to 30 first-half points, its second-lowest output of the season behind 28 against the Storm on June 7.

ESPN’s Michael Voepel, ESPN Stats & Information and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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