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LA faces Vegas team it hasn’t had much success against recently

The WNBA will play a pair of Commissioner’s Cup games on Thursday nights; The Las Vegas Aces (1-0) play the Los Angeles Sparks (1-0) and the Minnesota Lynx (0-2) play the Phoenix Mercury (0-2). The Aces and Sparks will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network, while the Lynx and Mercury can be viewed through Amazon Prime Video. Both games will tip-off at 10 p.m. ET.

Under new head coach Kurt Miller, the Sparks made an impressive start to their season, easily defeating the Mercury at home behind their starting frontcourt of Nneka and Chini Ogwumike, who recorded 32 points and 11 rebounds. The Sparks also got significant contributions from guards Lexie Brown, Gia Cook and Carly Samuelson — each of whom hit multiple 3-pointers — and turned the ball over just six times.

Los Angeles will need all of that and more on Thursday when it hosts the defending WNBA champion Aces, a team the Sparks have struggled mightily with in recent years. In fact, the Sparks haven’t beaten the Aces since 2019 (across the timeline), and last season it was a particularly one-sided matchup, with Las Vegas beating Los Angeles by 21.1 points per 100 points in a four-aces win. Had given.

The Aces evenly beat the Seattle Storm in their 2023 opener, defeating the Storm by 41 points in the most one-sided result of the season so far. Jackie Young and Kelsey Plum led the way with 23 points each, while WNBA MVP Aja Wilson chipped in a double-double of 13 points and 13 rebounds. In her highly anticipated Ace debut, Candace Parker recorded 12 points, five assists and three blocks in 23 minutes of play, while hitting a team-high 11-of-18 3-pointers to shut out Seattle 50–32. done.

It was a statement made to the rest of the WNBA: The Aces are just as good as last season, if not better, and ready to defend their title. On Thursday, the new-look Sparks will have their work cut out for them — especially on the defensive end of the court, as they try to coax the Aces’ unmatched levels of offensive play.

Elsewhere, both the Mercury and Lynx have had slow starts to the season, although they are at very different stages in their respective franchise trajectories. After welcoming Brittney Griner to professional basketball, Phoenix would like nothing more than to squeeze out another winning season during the twilight of Diana Taurasi’s career, but injuries and other absences have made it difficult to put together team depth and a consistent lineup. hindered the ability of

The Lynx, on the other hand, are in full-on rebuilding mode, with forward Nafisa Collier and rookie wing Diamond Miller being their two building blocks. Minnesota head coach Cheryl Reeve has made absolutely no secret that the Lynx would rather develop players for the future than try to compete for playoff appearances, and as such, will be part of her team’s rotations for the first half of the 2023 WNBA season. is expected to be volatile. ,

game info

Las Vegas Aces (1-0) vs Los Angeles Sparks (1-0)

When: 10:00 p.m. ET

Where: Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles, CA

how to see: CBS Sports Network, Silver State Sports & Entertainment Network

Ace Injury Report: Rikuna Williams (out; back)

Sparks Injury Report: Jasmine Thomas (out; knee), Azura Stevens (out; back), Katie Lou Samuelson (out; pregnancy)

Minnesota Lynx (0-2) vs. Phoenix Mercury (0-2)

When: 10:00 p.m. ET

Where: Footprint Center in Phoenix, AZ

how to see: Amazon Prime Video, AZ Family 3TV, AZ Family Sports Network 44, Bally Sports North

Lynx Injury Report: Natalie Achonwa (not with team; maternity leave)

Mercury Injury Report: Shae Peddie (out; Achilles), Megan Gustafson (out; foot), Skylar Diggins-Smith (not with team; maternity leave)

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