Las Vegas Aces tie WNBA record with 18 3-pointers
The Aces shot 47.4% from 3 overall, hitting 7 for 8 from deep to jump out to a 39-19 first-quarter lead from which L.A. never recovered. Vegas went on to make 11 of its first 12 3s of the game before cooling off slightly in the latter 25 minutes.
"We shot the ball well. They caught us on a night," first-year head coach Becky Hammon said. "If we can bottle that, that would be great."
The Mystics and the Seattle Storm previously hit 18 3s in a game on Aug. 18, 2019, and Aug. 12, 2020, respectively.
With the victory, the Aces improved to a league-best 7-1 while the Sparks lost their fifth straight game, dropping to 2-5.
Seven Vegas players connected from deep, including 2020 MVP A'ja Wilson, whose pair of 3s got Vegas on the board to start the game. Guards Kelsey Plum (5 for 8) and Chelsea Gray (4 for 6) in particular really got going from the arc, with Plum matching the entire Sparks team's total from 3-point range (5 for 23).
"Basketball is a game of confidence," Hammon said. "You see one or two go in the basket, people get rolling ... it becomes real fun as an offensive player, especially when you know your teammates are going to find you when you're open."
Under former coach Bill Laimbeer, the Aces were the least-frequent 3-point shooting team each year since the franchise moved to Vegas from San Antonio in 2018, attempting just 13.5 treys per game in 2021. This year, under Hammon's pace and space style of play, the Aces are tied with the Phoenix Mercury for the second-most 3-point attempts per game at 25.8.
The Aces had two games where they've made at least 14 3s, while the rest of the league has combined for zero such games. The 3-point shooting has helped the Aces score 746 points in eight games this season for an average of 93.3 per game, which according to ESPN Stats & Information research are the most points scored through that span of a season in WNBA history.
"It just seems like it's a breath of fresh air for all of us," Wilson said. "I would definitely say we're having fun."
Hammon's primary focus, though, is that the Aces' defense gets to the elite level that its offense has demonstrated. In her mind, Vegas -- which is seeking its first WNBA title after making it to the Finals in 2020 and the semifinals in both 2019 and 2021-- did that Monday.
"When we defend, we become special," Hammon said.