The Washington Mystics resoundingly defeated Las Vegas on Saturday and held the Aces to their second-lowest point total of the season.
The Aces will look to avenge the 78-62 defeat on Thursday night when they host the Mystics in the third and final meeting of the season between the teams.
Las Vegas (30-6) is averaging a league-best 92.6 points per game but was anemic at Washington, making just 30.8 percent of its shots and a meager 6 of 29 (20.7 percent) from 3-point range.
"We didn't do what we needed to do to win this game," Aces guard Kelsey Plum said afterward.
Las Vegas was not up to the task two days later either in a 94-85 defeat against the host New York Liberty on Monday.
Suddenly, the Aces are just 1 1/2 games ahead of the Liberty in the battle for the No. 1 seed in the WNBA playoffs.
Las Vegas coach Becky Hammon said fatigue is a problem for her players.
"This was our 11th game in 23 days," Hammon said after the loss to New York. "That's two trips to the East Coast. That's a lot."
Washington (17-18), which resides in fifth place, followed up its win over the Aces with an 83-72 home victory over the Minnesota Lynx on Tuesday. Brittney Sykes led the way with 21 points.
Against Las Vegas, two-time WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne had 21 points and seven rebounds in 22 minutes. The strong performance came in her second outing since July 9 due to ankle and hip injuries.
The Mystics played inspired basketball with their best player on the floor.
"I think you could just see it," Delle Donne said afterward. "We were playing with joy, sharing the ball, trusting in each other and that's what it can look like."
Delle Donne had just 10 points in 23 minutes against Minnesota.
The Mystics held Aces star A'ja Wilson to 14 points on 4-of-12 shooting on Saturday. That was a huge improvement from the first meeting this season, when Wilson scored a then career-high 40 points on 17-of-25 shooting in a 113-89 home win.
Wilson established another career high with 53 points — tying the WNBA record set by Liz Cambage of the Dallas Wings in 2018 — in a 112-100 win over the host Atlanta Dream on Aug. 22.
—Field Level Media