Las Vegas, NV – With the Las Vegas Aces back following an All-Star weekend in which their three top players were seemingly everywhere, doing everything (DJ Liz Cambage at the Mandalay Beach Party, anyone), the rest of the Aces on Tuesday night showed just how invaluable they are as well. In a game in which All-Star forward A’ja Wilson was inactive (she continues to sit for an as of yet unspecified amount of time with an ankle injury sustained right before the All-Star break), and her two All-Star teammates Kayla McBride and Liz Cambage combined for just 13 points, the Aces reserves picked up the slack in an unexpected way, actually outscoring the starting five, 49-37.
Dearica Hamby was once again thrust into the starting lineup in place of the injured Wilson and continued to show why she was absolutely deserving of a spot on the All-Star team, pouring in 18 points, to go along with eleven rebounds in going a long way towards replacing some of the output lost with Wilson out.
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Tamera “Ty” Young, Hamby’s normal counterpart as one of the first two Aces off the bench, was instrumental in Tuesday’s huge win, contributing 18 huge points off the bench. Normally the first players to come off the bench for coach Bill Laimbeer, Hamby and Young showed just why they are such important pieces to what the Aces hope will prove to be a championship puzzle.
Hamby once again made her presence felt in every which way, as her hands were active in the passing lanes, as well as on the glass, she scored consistently from long-range and was active making cuts through the lane for easy shots at the basket.
Kayla McBride meanwhile, looked to have already left the disappointment of falling short of taking home the three-point championship trophy during All-Star weekend behind her, as she wasted no time in knocking down her first three-point attempt less than a minute into the game.
Jackie Young and Kelsey Plum also impacted the game in non-traditional ways, making a pair of thefts that lead to transition baskets on the other end. In truth, it was the entire Aces team, in particular, the perimeter players that made life difficult all night for their counterparts in Dallas jerseys; to the tune of eleven Dallas turnovers in the first half alone.
Not to be outdone, reserve guard Sydney Colson, who has served as the unofficial official pulse of the team all year, made a steal and was fouled hard by Dallas center Theresa Plaisance as she attempted a layup. The officials had to take time to review the play, eventually determining that a common personal foul was the appropriate call. Colson would knock down both free throws, and the Aces were off to the races.
Moments later, the heady and energetic Colson would again have her fingerprints all over another pivotal play as she keyed a break making a nice touch pass ahead to Ty Young, then when Hamby was denied on her attempt, Colson would again make the unselfish play, making the extra pass to the wide-open Young, who spotted up and knocked down the three to give the Aces a fifteen-point lead, at 31-16.
The Aces would maintain that sizable advantage as they went into halftime with a 42-27 lead, and would also get rather significant -if unexpected- contributions from all of the reserves including Sugar Rodgers (eight points) and bigs Ji Su Park and Carolyn Swords off the bench, each of whom established new season highs in points, with four and ten points, respectively.
Liz Cambage would be hit with the Aces’ 2nd technical foul just a minute into the second half (Laimbeer was assessed a technical earlier in the first half), but that wasn’t nearly enough to derail the Aces’ dominant and balanced attack on Tuesday night.
The Aces turned in without question their most balanced game offensively of the season on Tuesday, evidenced by the fact that every player that saw the court scored at least two points.
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