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Preview: It’s the battle of the superteams as Las Vegas Aces host New York Liberty

The Las Vegas Aces and New York Liberty don’t want to call themselves superteams, but WNBA fans around the world are thrilled to see them square off.

Indiana Fever v Las Vegas Aces
Las Vegas Aces point guard Chelsea Gray (with ball)
Photo by David Becker/NBAE via Getty Images

With the WNBA season inching closer to the All-Star break, we have a potential WNBA Finals preview on Thursday: the Las Vegas Aces go up against the New York Liberty at 10 p.m. ET. That won’t be the only game happening at that time as the entire three-game slate for Thursday will be played at 10 p.m. ET, with the other matchups being Phoenix Mercury vs. Indiana Fever and Seattle Storm vs. Minnesota Lynx.

A’ja Wilson and the Aces are well aware of the superteam moniker they have along with the Liberty, as Wilson mentioned when discussing this upcoming matchup.

“OMG, a whole bunch of drama, you know,” Wilson said after the Aces’ win over the Fever on Monday. “It’s the battle of the super teams; everyone has been honing in on that.”

And there are good reasons people are honing in on these two teams. The Aces are putting up historic numbers. They are No. 1 in points per game, plus-minus and offensive rating, to name a few categories. With a 13-1 record, they have been nearly unbeatable.

Teams are giving their best attempts against the defending champs, as five wins were under ten points, but the combination of Jackie Young, Chelsea Gray, A’ja Wilson, Kelsey Plum and Candace Parker has proven to be too much for the W to handle.

While not at the historic level the Aces are at, the Liberty aren’t too far behind. At 10-3, they are on a four-game winning streak and just beat the Connecticut Sun 89-81 thanks to a Breanna Stewart masterclass of 24 points on 11-of-17 shooting along with nine rebounds.

It won’t just be Stewie facing the Aces; her reinforcements include one of the best point guards of all time in Courtney Vandersloot and the explosive Sabrina Ionescu. A victory against the Aces would not only be the biggest win of the season but also evidence that the championship returning to Las Vegas is not yet a foregone conclusion.

Did anyone predict the Indiana Fever would have a better record than the Phoenix Mercury after 13 games?

Well, that’s what has happened as the Fever are 5-9 and the Mercury are 2-11. Phoenix just fired its head coach, Vanessa Nygaard, and has replaced her with interim head coach Nikki Blue.

Indiana’s good start can be mainly attributed to the inclusion of Aliyah Boston. The rookie has exceeded even the most optimistic expectations of her as she’s averaging 14.8 points and 10.8 rebounds and was just named a WNBA All-Star starter.

Phoenix has an All-Star starter on their roster as well, with Brittney Griner playing as well as she ever has in her career. That is a truly remarkable feat, given she spent the last season imprisoned in Russia. The story is incredible, but to get wins on the court, Griner will need help from her guards. Perhaps Sophie Cunningham will make her return and can step up against the Fever and pump up her offensive production.

Seattle and Minnesota just played against each other on Tuesday, with the Lynx winning 104-93. For the Storm to win the rematch, they’ll need to do a better job in the paint, as they were dominated 54-32 on Tuesday. Lynx star Napheesa Collier had a field day, scoring 33 points and going 9-of-9 from the free throw line.

Minnesota has found success winning two-game series this year, as they beat the Sparks in back-to-back games earlier in June. If they do it again on Thursday, it would mean four of their six victories will have come from two-game series matchups.

Game information

Las Vegas Aces (13-1) vs. New York Liberty (10-3)

When: Thursday, June 29 at 10 p.m. ET

Where: Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas, NV

How to watch: Prime Video

Aces injury report: Riquna Williams (out; back)

Liberty injury report: Stefanie Dolson (out; ankle)

Phoenix Mercury (2-11) vs. Indiana Fever (5-9)

When: Thursday, June 29 at 10 p.m. ET

Where: Footprint Center in Phoenix, AZ

How to watch: NBA TV

Mercury injury report: Sophie Cunningham (questionable; back), Shey Peddy (questionable; Achilles), Megan Gustafson (questionable; concussion), Skylar Diggins-Smith (out indefinitely; maternity leave)

Fever injury report: none

Seattle Storm (4-10) vs. Minnesota Lynx (5-9)

When: Thursday, June 29 at 10 p.m. ET

Where: Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, WA

How to watch: CBS Sports

Storm injury report: Jordan Horston (questionable; shoulder)

Lynx injury report: Tiffany Mitchell (out; wrist), Aerial Powers (out; ankle), Jessica Shepard (out; non-COVID illness), Natalie Achonwa (out; maternity leave)