LAS VEGAS — The feeling is a little different around the team than it was a year ago, and Wednesday proved that.

In 2022, the Sky were the second seed in the WNBA Playoffs as they looked to face the Aces for a shot at a second-straight title.

Now the team is in Las Vegas with a new look team, a new coach, having gotten into the last seed in the playoffs in the final week of the season. They are facing the top-seeded Aces as a heavy underdog, with some not even predicting the Sky to win a game, and the first contest of their WNBA Semifinals didn’t change that opinion.

Even as Candace Parker, a key member of the Sky in 2021 & 2022, is on the sidelines with a foot injury, Las Vegas looked the part of a defending champion. They sprinted past the Sky from the start and kept them at a distance, winning Game 1 of the best-of-three series 87-59 at Michelob ULTRA Arena.

Now the team faces elimination when they play Game 2 on Sunday at 2 p.m. in Las Vegas.

The Aces wasted no time building a lead, going up by 12 in the first quarter and 17 at the half. In the final 20 minutes, they weren’t in danger of losing their edge as four Las Vegas starters finished with double digits in points.

Chelsea Gray led the way with 20 points while Jackie Young had 18 and Kelsey Plum 16 in a well-rounded effort that improved the Aces’ overall record to 35-6.

Only Kahleah Copper reached double-digits for the Sky as she scored 15 points on the evening as they shot 33 percent from the field and had 13 turnovers.

They’ll need much more if they hope to keep their season alive on Sunday, but they’ll enter a heavy underdog just as they did on Wednesday. It’s quite a role reversal for a team that kept its five-year postseason streak alive under much different circumstances.