LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jackie Young scored 30 points on 12-of-18 shooting and defending WNBA champion Las Vegas took control in the third quarter en route to a 94-85 win over the Los Angeles Sparks on Thursday night.
Down 10 at halftime, Las Vegas rallied by making 12 of 16 shots to outscore the Sparks 31-17 and take a 67-63 lead into the fourth quarter. Aja Wilson scored six straight points before Young had consecutive layups to put the Aces up 61-59.
Wilson finished with 19 points and 13 rebounds for Las Vegas (2-0). Chelsea Gray added 16 points and eight assists, while Candace Parker had 10 points against her former team of 13 seasons.
Gray's pullup jumper with 1:30 to play gave the Aces an 89-79 lead.
Chiney Ogwumike led the Sparks (1-1) with 19 points, and Lexie Brown had 15. Brown made all four of her shots, including two 3-pointers, to score 10 points to help the Sparks take a 25-15 lead after one quarter.
The Sparks were without leader Nneka Ogwumike because of a non-COVID illness. Dearica Hamby, two months after giving birth, started in her place and scored 11 points.
Hamby joined L.A. in an offseason trade with Las Vegas. She said she had been bullied and manipulated for being pregnant. That led to a WNBA investigation and a two-game suspension for Aces coach Becky Hammon, who denied the accusations.
Hammon will return to the bench when the teams play again Saturday in Las Vegas, when the Aces receive their championship rings.