LAS VEGAS (May 28, 2018) —The Las Vegas Aces came up short late in the fourth after trailing by (19 points) early in the first-half, despite getting off to a fast start. A’ja Wilson scored the team’s first points at home and finished with 27 points and 8 rebounds.
The team shot (50%) from the field on (36-72) FG attempts and that was their best shooting performance, thus far on the season. The Aces shot (50%) from beyond the arc and finished (5-10) from the three-point line, another improvement after a two game road trip.
The Aces had four players with double figures in points, A’ja Wilson (27), Nia Coffey (23), Kayla McBride (21), and Tamera Young (12).
Kayla McBride’s 21 points opened up the floor for the bigs in the paint, she was (3-6) from beyond the arc shooting (50%). McBride made big plays in key moments of the game to bring the Aces within 10 points in the 4th quarter that sparked a few runs for Las Vegas.
One thing you won’t see on the stat sheet is her toughness, McBride was hit in the mouth on a play in the fourth quarter, she didn’t seek out a call from the referees, as she grabbed her mouth and played through the pain.
On the next defensive possession, the Aces forced a turnover on Seattle’s Natasha Howard, and McBride sprinted down the court to hit an open three-point shot from the wing, which energized the crowd down the stretch.
A’ja Wilson is a rookie, but she is showing true signs of a leader on and off the court. Wilson credits her teammates for her early success through three games, she’s not a selfish player, she’s vocal, and Wilson is playing more physical inside the paint with low post moves and mid-range jumpers.
Coach Laimbeer is confident in A’ja’s skills and abilities:
“He was just asking if I was okay. I guess, he looked over and saw something in my eyes that I wasn’t okay. I don’t know what he saw, but I was. I think he just wanted to make sure that I kept pushing because, he knew it was in me. To have a coach like that that’s really confident in you is really special and you don’t want to disappoint him. And that’s what I don’t want to do I don’t want to disappoint coach, so I’m always going to give it my all.”
Despite the loss, this team is improving all around, and they need to correct a couple of things, mainly the turnovers (18) — these are mistakes that you can expect from a young team, but this team is headed in the right direction.
“I think we’re learning, but we have a long way to go. We know we’re not the best basketball team (right now). We just added a couple of player, and we are still missing a couple of players. But there are no excuses in this league. It never stops. The most important thing we can do as a young team is learn from our mistakes.”
The potential of this team is great, they are fast, versatile, and the players are interchangeable at many positions. The Aces are just scratching the surface, Kelsey Plum returned from overseas for her first game, Bill Laimbeer is easing her into the game, hence her limited minutes (10) and 4 points off the bench. Moriah Jefferson is still out with a knee injury, the ceiling is very high for this team.
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