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Wilson, Aces Open Season with Win 

The night was perfect.  A record crowd of 10.419 cheered, counted, and sang with the two-time defending WNBA champions as they began their quest for a Three-peat with an 89-80 victory over the Phoenix Mercury at the Michelob Ultra Arena at the Mandalay Bay.    

Owner Mark Davis had the crowd counting down the seconds for Aces players to open their ring boxes while fellow owner and NFL legend Tom Brady and Commissioner Cathy Englebert applauded.  The banner was raised to the rafters and crowd sang "We Are The Champions."  

The after-party ensued, and it was a successful opening night for the best team and franchise in the league. 

And when the game started it was the A'ja Wilson show.  She picked right up where she left off in Brooklyn last October when she was named Finals Most Valuable Player leading her team to its second consecutive title. 

Wilson scored 30 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and dished out five assists in the victory.  She had 17 points in first quarter and the Aces were off and running out to an 18-point lead.  Despite missing Chelsea Gray, who is still recuperating from her left leg injury she suffered in Game 3 of the Finals last year, fellow guards Jackie Young and Kelsey Plum contributed 23 and 19 points respectfully. 

Sydney Colson saw increased playing time and fans got to see newcomer Megan Gustafson fire in her first three pointer as a member of the Aces.  Becky Hammon had her team in prime form ready to take on all comers and accept the target on their backs once again. 

 

The Aces converted 25 of 29 free throws and reacted well after a vintage Diana Taurasi led a Mercury comeback, who actually took at three-point lead in the second half.  The GOAT nailed seven three pointers and scored 23 points.   

However, the champs showed their mettle and were never seriously threatened.  The group features a mature, experienced team with eight players coming back who know each and every move and mood.    

Fans will be treated to more of the same this weekend at the Aces open the season with a four game homestand. Next up, the Los Angeles Sparks on Saturday afternoon.  The ceremonial off-season is now behind them and now it's time just for basketball. Just the way they like it. 

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