Aces defeat Fever, Caitlin Clark in front of largest WNBA crowd in 25 years (2024)

Aces defeat Fever, Caitlin Clark in front of largest WNBA crowd in 25 years (1)

Steve Marcus

Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark (22) defends against Las Vegas Aces guard Jackie Young (0) during the first half of an WNBA basketball game at T-Mobile Arena Tuesday, July 2,2024.

By Jack Williams (contact)

Published Tuesday, July 2, 2024 | 8:40 p.m.

Updated Tuesday, July 2, 2024 | 9:40 p.m.

Aces Defeat Fever 88-69 at T-Mobile

Aces defeat Fever, Caitlin Clark in front of largest WNBA crowd in 25 years (2) Launch slideshow »

The Las Vegas Aces extended their winning streak to five games tonight, defeating the Indiana Fever, 88-69, in front of a record-breaking 20,366 fans at T-Mobile Arena.

The attendance was not only a new franchise record, smashing the previous one by nearly 3,000 people but the most attended WNBA game in 25 years and the fifth-largest crowd all-time.

There was a healthy amount of not just Aces fans in attendance, but Fever fans and even Iowa fans cheering on former Hawkeyes Kate Martin (Aces), Megan Gustafson (Aces) and Caitlin Clark (Fever). Kelsey Plum gave credit to the trio for helping bring in the record-breaking amount of fans.

"We had a ton of fans, but there's a lot of our fans that love Kate Martin and Megan Gustafson, too, so that has to get said," Plum said. "We have tremendous fans and it was an amazing environment. I'm just grateful that we got to win."

It was 308 fans shy of the WNBA record, which was set in 1999 between the Washington Mystics and the Cleveland Rockers.

It was also the first WNBA game to surpass 19,500 fans that wasn't at the Verizon Center/Capital One Arena in Washington or Madison Square Garden in New York. Both those venues have hosted 14 of the top 15 most-attended WNBA games of all time.

Aces coach Becky Hammon said there were times where she felt like the building was going to explode. It's a huge moment not just for the Aces but the WNBA, and it's a moment these women have deserved for a long time, she said.

"It is nice to see these women get recognized for how great they are, how hard they work, and valued the way they should have been valued the whole time in my opinion," Hammon said.

Hammon also gave credit to all the attention Clark has brought to the WNBA. In April, when the Aces released their schedule and Clark had declared for the WNBA Draft, Hammon was asked if she wanted to move the game from Michelob Ultra Arena to T-Mobile Arena and said it was an easy "yes."

"I asked 'can we make money off of it?' They (Aces front office) said 'yes' and I said 'so move it.' It was an easy question," Hammon said. "There's a lot of eyes on us now. Vegas has been showing up for the past two, three years, so I'm not surprised (the attendance record was broken)."

Plum downed a team-leading 34 points, shooting 55% (11-of-20) from the field. A'ja Wilson, who was just named the WNBA Western Conference Player of the Month, followed with 28 points and nine rebounds.

Wilson is averaging a league-leading 26.9 points and a league-second-best 11.1 rebounds. While Plum led the Aces in scoring tonight, she put into perspective just how good Wilson has been this season.

"It's crazy that you're [Wilson] usually averaging 28 a game like this is a normal day in office. That's absurd," Plum said to Wilson. "You realize that, right? Everyone's like doubling and tripling, and it really doesn't matter. We need to put that in perspective. It's just another night at the office, and we take it for granted, but we're watching one of the greatest players of all time in front of our eyes."

The offense was pumping for the Aces. They shot 45% (32-of-71) from the field and 36% (9-of-25) from 3-point range.

The Aces kept the Fever and rookie sensation Caitlin Clark at bay. Clark finished with just 13 points, shooting 4-of-12 from the field and committed five personal fouls. As a team, the Fever shot 36% (28-of-77) from the field. Aces forward Kiah Stokes had an impressive defensive showing, recording a team high 12 rebounds.

"That's Kiah (Stokes) and who she is," Wilson said. "This is why we love her so much. She does the dirty stuff that doesn't necessarily show up on the stat sheet. When you're talking about 12 rebounds, that's incredible. That's why she'll forever be the anchor of this defense."

The Aces improved to 11-6 on the year. Two of their next three games are at home. They face the Washington Mystics on Thursday at 7 p.m. at Michelob Ultra Arena. The game will be broadcast on Amazon Prime Video.

Aces defeat Fever, Caitlin Clark in front of largest WNBA crowd in 25 years (2024)

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