Aces face Mystics after getting doors blown off in opener

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- The NHL's Golden Knights have set the bar high for new sports franchises in Las Vegas.

For now, the transplanted Aces will just look to improve on their opening-night performance.

The Aces, who won a combined 23 games in their final three seasons in San Antonio, took an early 10-point lead at Connecticut before the Sun got in gear and rolled to a 101-65 win on Sunday. The 36-point margin of victory was the largest for any season opener in WNBA history.

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"I'm thinking, holy crap," new Aces coach Bill Laimbeer told the Las Vegas Review Journal of the early lead. "But we have a long way to go, we know that. We are missing a lot of players, core contributors from last season. But they (Connecticut) have a very good basketball team and we knew we were in a hornet's nest."

Center A'ja Wilson of South Carolina, the team's first draft pick, debuted with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

"It's tough, of course. We are all competitors and we all want to get a win," Wilson told "It was the first game and those jitters are gone for me and I am starting to get a better feel for my teammates and I am just ready to get back on the court again."

Forward Tamera Young led Las Vegas with 23 points.

The Aces shot (0-1) just 26 percent (18 of 68) from the field.

Washington, looking to build on last season's trip to the Semifinals, opened their season Sunday with an 82-75 win over the visiting Indiana Fever.

Kristi Toliver scored 16 points and Elena Delle Donne added 13 points and seven assists to guide the Mystics (1-0).

"It's huge that we were able to kind of just grind through it and get past it, learn from it, watch a little film," Donne told after the ragged win. "We've got a game right around the corner, which I'm super excited about because I feel like we want to get back out there and show what we really can look like."

The Mystics led by as many as 14 points in the fourth quarter, but the Fever pulled within six before Toliver's 3-pointer made it 82-73 with 1:08 remaining.

Monique Curry, signed by the Mystics to help fill the void left by Emma Meesseman's decision to sit out the season, scored 11 points in her first game back with the team she previously spent eight seasons with.

"Obviously, we have a superstar in Delle Donne, a very good player in Toliver, and I just fall in and get in where I fit in and try to contribute where I can," Currie told

Washington converted 15 Indiana turnovers into 17 points. The Mystics also went 11 of 25 from 3-point range and made 15 of 16 free throws.

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