Aces Take on Fever

A’ja Wilson has had enough of the losing.

The two-time defending WNBA champion Las Vegas Aces are hosting the Seattle Storm at 7 p.m. tonight (Silver State Sports, Cox 125) looking to break free of an early-season funk that has them in the middle of the Western Conference standings at 6-6 overall.

One of the toughest defeats to stomach for Wilson, the Aces’ star center and the league’s reigning Most Valuable Player, was an 8-point loss Saturday to the New York Liberty in a WNBA Finals rematch.

It was the Aces’ fourth loss in five games — and Wilson took it personally. Asked what she needed to do for the team to start winning, she got emotional.

“It’s really, really hard, but I love my teammates so much that I’ll take any hit for them,” Wilson said, with tears rolling down her face. “I get you all say ‘the best player in the world’ and that’s great, but I want to be the best person and best teammate because that’s how I get the best out of my team.”

Wilson is playing some of the best basketball in her seven-year career, averaging 28 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks per game. Many say she is the best player in the world — a label she’s not concerned with.

Rather, it is a stat that has her attention. The six defeats equal last season’s total, when Las Vegas opened the season with a 16-1 record and had a 21-game winning streak in home games dating to the 2022 season.

“When it comes to wins and losses, I break this game down piece by piece,” Wilson said. “I don’t want to be great for you guys. I want to be great for this team. I want to be great for this franchise.”

“It is hard as (expletive) because there are tons of teams that want to break you down. … When it comes to taking accountability I have no problem with that because I want to be great.”

Aces coach Becky Hammon said Wilson would rather win by averaging 12 points and 10 rebounds than putting up the record-breaking numbers she has and lose.

But the team’s “edge” to win hasn’t been there all season, Hammon continued.

“We have not had it since Day 1 of training camp, I felt it and I’ve tried to address it,” Hammon said. “We’re just not that hungry.”

The Aces’ efforts to turn the season around don’t get any easier against Seattle, which Wilson called a “super team” and defeated the Aces by 13 points earlier this season. On Friday, the Aces host Connecticut, the league’s top team with just one loss.

Both games offer tremendous opportunities for the champs to make a statement. Wilson wants the tears of frustration she shed last week to be replaced with her trademark smile.

“You’re still going to see me smiling and dancing because I don’t want anyone to ever see us break,” Wilson said. “Obviously, I’m breaking now crying, but it’s a part of it.”

“It’s what you’ve got to see. This (expletive) is hard.”