Las Vegas Aces rout Seatle Storm 105-64 to open title defense

May 20, 2023, 2:50 PM

Seattle Storm...

Kelsey Plum of the Las Vegas Aces dribbles against the Seattle Storm on May 20, 2023. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

SEATTLE (AP) — Jackie Young and Kelsey Plum both scored 23 points, and the Las Vegas Aces opened defense of their WNBA championship with a 105-64 win over the Seattle Storm on Saturday.

Las Vegas Aces 105, Seattle Storm 64: Box Score

The rematch of last year’s WNBA semifinal series won by the Aces in four games on their way to the title featured several changes and absences from that playoff series.

Most notable, Las Vegas was without head coach Becky Hammon following her two-game suspension by the league earlier this week following an investigation into former Aces player Dearica Hamby saying she had been bullied and manipulated for being pregnant.

Hammon denied that Hamby was bullied for being pregnant, saying any ill feelings between the two came from Hamby being traded.

But the Aces didn’t miss a beat without their head coach on the sideline. Acting head coach Tyler Marsh just had to decide which combinations of the Aces star-studded roster to call upon, all under the watchful and approving eye of owner Mark Davis looking on from his baseline seat.

Six Aces players finished in double figures. A’ja Wilson had 13 points and 13 rebound, Chelsea Gray scored 14 points and Alysha Clark added 10 off the bench.

Then there was two-time MVP Candace Parker. In her debut with the Aces, Parker added 12 points, five rebounds and three blocks. It was the trade of Hamby to the Los Angeles Sparks that clear salary cap room for the Aces to add Parker and create a roster that along with New York are the overwhelming favorites to win the league title, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Jewell Loyd led Seattle with 22 points as the Storm began what’s expected to be a rebuild season in the next chapter for the franchise. For the first time since 2002, Sue Bird was no longer part of Seattle’s roster to start the season following her retirement at the end of last season, although she was sitting courtside for Saturday’s game.

Seattle also lost two-time league MVP Breanna Stewart after she departed for New York during free agency and starting wing Gabby Williams was still in Europe, although the Storm are hopeful the restricted free agent could with the hope she’ll rejoin the Storm soon.

That left Loyd as the only core piece from last season still on the court as a contributor. She struggled badly early, missing her first eight shots and struggled to get clean looks anytime Plum had the defensive assignment. Loyd finished 7 of 25 shooting.

No other Seattle player scored more than the eight points from rookie Jordan Horston.

Seattle Storm WNBA Draft: Horston, local product Loville among 4 picks

Seattle Storm

Seattle Storm...

The Associated Press

Ogwumike leads LA Sparks over Seattle Storm 92-85

Nneka Ogwumike had 27 points and 14 rebounds, Layshia Clarendon had 16 points, six assists and three steals and the Los Angeles Sparks beat the Seattle Storm 92-85.

3 days ago

Breanna Stewart...

The Associated Press

Breanna Stewart says return to Seattle with Liberty ‘feels good, but also very weird’

Breanna Stewart was back in Climate Pledge Arena on Tuesday as the New York Liberty faced the Seattle Storm.

7 days ago

Seattle Storm NY Liberty Breanna Stewart...

The Associated Press

NY Liberty beats Seattle Storm 86-78 as Stewart shines in return

Breanna Stewart had 25 points and 11 rebounds in her return to the Pacific Northwest and the New York Liberty beat the Seattle Storm 86-78.

7 days ago

Seattle Storm...

The Associated Press

Ogunbowale scores 26 as Dallas Wings beat Seattle Storm 95-91

Arike Ogunbowale had 26 points, Satou Sabally added 17 points and 10 rebounds as the Dallas Wings beat the Seattle Storm 95-91.

11 days ago

Jordan Horston Seattle Storm...

Brent Stecker

Seattle Storm WNBA Draft: Horston, local product Loville among 4 picks

The Seattle Storm added four players in the 2023 WNBA Draft ahead of their first season without Sue Bird and Breanna Stewart.

2 months ago

Seattle Storm Breanna Stewart...

The Associated Press

Breanna Stewart leaves Seattle Storm for NY; Vandersloot still undecided

Former MVP Breanna Stewart, a two-time WNBA champion with the Seattle Storm, is headed to New York to open WNBA free agency.

4 months ago

Las Vegas Aces rout Seatle Storm 105-64 to open title defense