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Aces clinch playoff spot with win over Liberty

An outstanding all-around game from A’ja Wilson and a 24-7 fourth-quarter advantage powered the Las Vegas Aces past the New York Liberty, 80-63, on Saturday afternoon in Bradenton, Fla.

The Aces (12-3) clinched a berth in the WNBA playoffs, but got all they could handle from the last-place Liberty (2-13) through three quarters.

Tied at 56-56 entering the fourth, Las Vegas blew it open with aggressive defense. Wilson led the charge with five blocked shots and three steals.

Wilson also set the pace for Las Vegas offensively, scoring 20 points on 7-of-14 shooting from the floor and a perfect 6-of-6 effort from the free-throw line. She also grabbed seven rebounds.

The reserves played a key role for the Aces with 37 points, led by Dearica Hamby’s double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds. Sugar Rodgers came off the bench to knock down 4 of 9 3-pointers en route to 12 points, and Danielle Robinson dished out a game-high assists.

Paris Kea led the Liberty with 14 points off the bench. Kiah Stokes added 12 points and Amanda Zahui B grabbed 21 rebounds.

Despite a balanced effort and stalemate through three quarters, the Liberty could not overcome committing 19 turnovers. New York was ice cold in the fourth quarter and shot just 33.3 percent for the game.

It was the fourth straight victory for the Aces, who have won 11 of their last 12.

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