Preview: Phoenix Mercury vs. Las Vegas Aces

WNBA

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The Las Vegas Aces begin their title defense versus the Phoenix Mercury on the WNBA’s opening night on Tuesday, May 14 (10 p.m. ET, ESPN2).

The Aces are the creme de la creme in the W, winners back-to-back titles and favorites to win a third in a row this season. They are essentially running it back the same squad, save for the addition of rookies Kate Martin and Dyaisha Fair.

Las Vegas is undoubtedly a juggernaut, but everything starts and ends with A’ja Wilson. The two-time MVP is why this team is super, and as long as she’s healthy and ready to play, they will be favored in virtually every game they play. She’s not just an offensive powerhouse; she’s a two-time Defensive Player of the Year. With Wilson and key players like Kelsey Plum and Jackie Young in peak condition, it’s likely the Aces will cruise to victory in this season opener. The will have to do so without starting Point Gawd Chelsea Gray, who is out with a lower leg injury.

The Phoenix Mercury struggled last year, finishing with a 9-31 record, and this year will likely be more of the same. They already have a brutal setback with Brittney Griner suffering a toe fracture that will sideline her for a few weeks. For the Mercury to pull off the upset, they’ll need everything to go their way. That means Diana Taurasi playing a phenomenal game and Kahleah Copper is leading the team offensively with a 30-plus point performance.

Even that might not be enough to beat the Aces. But this early in the season, perhaps a near-perfect performance from an underdog could surprise the defending champions on ring night.


Game information

Phoenix Mercury (0-0) vs. Las Vegas Aces (0-0)

When: Tuesday, May 14 at 10 p.m. ET

Where: Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas, NV

How to watch: ESPN2

Mercury injury report: Brittney Griner (out; toe fracture)

Aces injury report: Chelsea Gray (out; lower left leg)

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