The Las Vegas Aces won’t be whole for their next game, but coach Bill Laimbeer isn’t interested in excuses.
That’s why he was happy to see his team rebound from a sloppy third quarter Thursday night in a 90-83 victory over the Chicago Sky in the first of three meetings between the teams in 16 days.
The second matchup occurs Sunday in Chicago, where it’s likely Las Vegas will again play without center Liz Cambage (COVID-19 protocol) and top reserve Dearica Hamby (back). They average a combined total of 26.4 points and 15.3 rebounds per game.
The Aces made up for it Thursday night, getting 21 points each from A’ja Wilson, Kelsey Plum and Riquna Williams. They were 11 of 14 at the foul line in the fourth quarter, in stark contrast to the Sky making just one of two shots from the charity stripe.
“I told (the players) how hard they’re going to have to play and I think they learned that lesson today,” Laimbeer said, per the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “A lot of them got tired. We’re a little shorthanded and that’s part of it.
“We executed very well and in the third quarter, we went to slop. It was a win we really needed to keep our seeding opportunities in front of us.”
At 20-7, the Aces own the league’s second-best record behind Connecticut. Finishing second would mean an automatic bye into the WNBA semifinals.
As for Chicago (14-14), it is also battling to improve its postseason positioning. The Sky currently possess the No. 6 seed, but are still hoping to jump over Phoenix and perhaps Minnesota to get into the top four.
Chicago trailed 31-14 after one quarter Thursday night, but rallied behind Candace Parker. The veteran scored 22 of her game-high 30 points in the second half. Parker made 12 of 20 shots and also grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds.
But there wasn’t enough help for Parker. The rest of her teammates made just 18 of 48 attempts from the floor.
–Field Level Media