A'ja Wilson's 1st career 20/20 leads once-slumping Aces past Storm for 8th win in 9 games

The champs are back, and A'ja Wilson is leading the way.

Wilson tallied 24 points, 20 rebounds, four blocks, three steals and two assists Wednesday to lead the Las Vegas Aces in an 84-79 win over the Seattle Storm. The effort for Wilson marks the first 20/20 game in a career that includes five All-Star honors, two MVPs and two Defensive Player of the Year awards. Her rebounding tally is a career best.

The win was the eighth in nine games for the once-slumping Aces, who got off to a 6-6 start in defense of their second straight WNBA title. With Wednesday's win, the Aces improved to 14-7 and moved a half-game ahead of the Storm for second place in the Western Conference.

The Aces are now 1.5 games behind the first-place Minnesota Lynx and very much back in the conversation among the favorites to win the WNBA championship. The Aces are one of five teams (Lynx, Storm, New York Liberty, Connecticut Sun) with a .636 or better win rate that project to contend for the title.

A'ja Wilson had one of the best games of her career and continues to lead the Aces back into championship contention. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
A'ja Wilson had one of the best games of her career and continues to lead the Aces back into championship contention. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Seattle took early control of Wednesday's game with a 17-13 first-quarter that it extended to 36-30 by halftime. But the third quarter was all Aces. Capped by a 9-0 run by Jackie Young, they turned a 41-34 deficit into a 54-45 lead late in the third. Las Vegas outscored Seattle 30-19 in the quarter and never trailed again.

The Storm cut the deficit to 80-76 in the final minute. Wilson responded by hitting a contested turnaround jumper from the free-throw line while draped by six-time All-Defensive Team selection Nneka Ogwumike.

Jewell Lloyd hit three free throws on the other end after being fouled on a 3-point shot to cut the Aces' lead to 82-79 with 45.1 seconds remaining. But Seattle didn't score again as Las Vegas held on for the road win.

Wednesday's Aces effort wasn't all Wilson. Four starters scored in double figures, led by Young, who tallied 27 points, five rebounds, four assists and one steal. All-Star point guard Chelsea Gray posted 11 points and six assists in her ninth game back from the foot injury that had sidelined her since the start of the season. Gray's return has coincided with the Aces' 8-1 run in their past nine games.