The Las Vegas Aces drew first blood in their semifinal series against the Dallas Wings, largely due to the transcendent play of A’ja Wilson.
Wilson turned in one of the best games of her career, scoring 34 points on 15-21 from the field. Her domination extended to both ends of the court as she also chipped in four blocks and two steals while generally making life hell on any Dallas player who touched the paint. It was a masterwork, and her play was the difference in the game.
The Wings will have to get more from their own star talents to overcome the WNBA odds on Tuesday, September 26.
Our WNBA picks and predictions for Game 2 of Wings vs. Aces believe the play of Satou Sabally will be the key to Dallas’ gameplan.
Wings vs Aces Game 2 best odds
Wings vs Aces Game 2 picks and predictions
The working theory for the Dallas Wings this series was that they would have to beat the Las Vegas Aces with size in order to overcome the overwhelming talent gap posed by the defending champs. In Game 1 at least, this theory was a miserable failure. Not only did A’ja Wilson treat the Wings' interior defenders like traffic cones on her endless parades to the rim, the Aces actually managed to outrebound the Wings.
But there is more than one way to win with size. Leaning on the 6-foot-5 Satou Sabally on the perimeter more in Game 2 presents the most obvious path for the Wings to maximize their inherent advantages and gives them a chance to even the series against Las Vegas. That’s why I believe Satou will build on a solid Game 1 performance with an even more productive follow-up, and why I’m taking the Over on her combined points, rebounds, and assists prop at 29.5.
Sabally started out cold from the field in Game 1, going just 1-6 from the floor to open the game. She began the game hunting her shot but the layoff between rounds clearly impacted her rhythm.
Still, even though her shot wasn’t falling, her decision-making and effort were impeccable. Her defensive assignments ranged from Kelsey Plum and Jackie Young to hanging with Wilson on the interior. There was rarely a positive play on either end for Dallas in which she didn’t play a part.
While Teaira McCowan struggled to score against Wilson at the rim, Satou’s size gave her significant advantages on the perimeter. Sabally was guarded for the most part by a pair of 5-foot-11 guards in Chelsea Gray and Alysha Clark. With her 6-foot-4 frame, she was able to survey the entire court from behind the arc, crash for rebounds, or simply step into her shot assured of a limited contest by her defender.
Despite her advantages, Sabally played a patient game. Even though she was off from the perimeter early on, she used her gravity up top and size to survey and pass from the top of the arc, hitting Arike on an Iverson cut or feeding Natasha Howard the ball when she had her defender sealed in the post.
Once Satou warmed up, Gray simply didn’t have the size to bother her shot. She casually stepped back into a three and splashed it, generating a ton of open space for the look.
She also did beautiful work as the initiator in transition whether passing or scoring, and once she hit a few shots, her shot fake became a deadly weapon she used to suck in the defense only to hit the roller afterward.
Satou was also determined to attack the rim whenever A’ja hit the bench. She had a few shots rim out, but again, the process was excellent.
For all this, there were many points and assist opportunities left on the board for Sabally in Game 1, in part due to bad luck, but also a lack of emphasis and intention in the Dallas game plan. I’m expecting Satou to come out with that same level of aggression in Game 2 but with far different results as she finds her rhythm and the coaching staff emphasizes her more in the offense.
Sabally is averaging 34 combined points, rebounds, and assists over her last nine games. Perhaps more impressive however is her consistency. In that same span, she’s only failed to eclipse 30 combined points, rebounds, and assists twice.
She’s a player who finds a way to influence the game, almost every game, no matter the context. Even if the Aces decide to trap Sabally more in Game 2, I still expect her to produce.
My best bet: Satou Sabally Over 29.5 points, rebounds, and assists (-115 at bet365)
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Wings vs Aces Game 2 spread and Over/Under analysis
The line for Game 2 is unchanged from the -10.5 spread from Game 1. The Aces covering in Game 1 saw their ATS record rise to 5-1 in their last six games overall.
The story of the game was A’ja, not just that she dominated mind you, but how she did it. While she hit a few shots from the midrange, mostly she got the basket over and over again despite Dallas’ size. She shot a stunning 9-10 in the restricted area because rather than work from static post-ups, Las Vegas got Wilson the ball on the move.
By getting A’ja to attack before the catch, she had a full head of steam going against McCowan. Her superior agility allowed her to dance around the Dallas bigs, and when the Wings tried to guard her with a smaller player, the Aces sprung her loose with screens that the Wings were ill-prepared to deal with.
While I expect Dallas to have some better answers for Wilson on Tuesday, she demonstrated that whatever issues plagued her in this matchup in the regular season will not follow her into the playoffs.
For Dallas, Arike had an off shooting night, and more critically, an off shot-selection night. She took a number of ill-advised jump shots early in the offense, some of which helped key Las Vegas fast breaks. The Wings want to kill you in transition, but if the transition basket isn’t there, Dallas will need to show greater patience to work for good shots to beat Las Vegas.
Critically, the Aces won the rebounding battle against the Wings, having both a higher offensive rebounding rate and more boards overall. And since the Aces rarely turn the ball over, the possession battle was firmly in Las Vegas’ favor.
In short, a lot went in favor of the Aces. And yet the margin was just 14 points. I’d lean towards Dallas to rebound and cover in Game 2.
Game 1 finished with 180 combined points, easily eclipsing the 174.5 total. There’s little reason to suspect too much regression in Game 2 either and the line has come with a slight bump between 175.5 and 176 at most sportsbooks. The Over is now 19-7 in the Wings’ last 26 games overall.
While the Wings should have better schematic answers to A’ja catching the ball on the move, any drop-off in Wilson’s scoring could be made up for by a better outing from Gray or a more aggressive Jackie Young. I don’t see the Las Vegas offense taking a hard dip.
The Wings' offense could also improve significantly. Satou, Howard, and Arike combined to shoot 33.3% from the field. Some of that is a credit to the Aces' defense, but some of it was also noise. I’d lean Over.
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Wings vs Aces betting trend to know
Over is 19-7 in Wings’ last 26 overall. Find more WNBA betting trends for Wings vs. Aces.
Wings vs Aces Game 2 game info
|Location:||Michelob ULTRA Arena, Las Vegas, NV|
|Date:||Tuesday, September 26, 2023|
|Tip-off:||10:00 p.m. ET|
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