LAS VEGAS – The Las Vegas Aces (1-2) had to rely on their bench for the second straight game, and for the second straight game it wasn’t quite enough as the Connecticut Sun (3-1) scored eight of the last 10 points, Sunday afternoon, to pick up the 80-74. victory
The Aces found themselves trailing 16-13 in the first quarter, but they scored the next 10 points to go up 23-16.
Las Vegas extended its lead to 10 points midway through the second, but the Sun. scored 14 of the next 16 points to regain the lead.
From that point on, neither team led by more than five points until the final two minutes. The Aces led 72-71 with 4:21 to go, but Connecticut scored the next nine points to secure the win
The Aces committed a season-high 21 turnovers which the Sun turned into 32 points. That is the most turnovers the team has committed in a game since July 1, 2018 at Los Angeles (22).
The Aces made 43.8 percent of their shots from the field, while the Sun made 33.8 percent of theirs. However, Connecticut took 14 more shots than Las Vegas due in large part to the Aces’ 21 turnovers.
The Aces bench scored 40 points which is the most the team’s reserves has scored since June 3, 2018 in a loss at Chicago.
The Sun starters scored 70 of the team’s 80 points.
A’ja Wilson scored in double figures for the 36thstraight time to start her career (19 points). That is the second longest such streak to start a career in WNBA history (Cynthia Cooper).
Liz Cambage scored in double figures for the 34thstraight game (14 points).
Dearica Hamby scored in double figures for the fifth consecutive game dating back to the end of last season (10 points).
?With her free throws with 3:01 remaining in the third quarter, Courtney Williams eclipsed 1,000 career points. She finished the game with 19 and now has 1,005 for her career.?
Williams’ 19 points was a season-best, as was her eight rebounds.
Jonquel Jones pulled down double-digit rebounds for the fourth consecutive game and recorded her 26th career double-double with 13 rebounds and 16 points in the game. It was her third double-double of the season.
Shekinna Stricklen had a season-high 15 points..
The Aces travel to Atlanta to take on the Dream on Thursday, June 6 at 4 pm PT
Aces Head Coach Bill Laimbeer
How did tonight go from your perspective?
“As we’re starting the season and all you media people kept saying, “Aces, Aces, Aces,” I kept saying wait a minute, we don’t know how to win, we’re too young. This is year 2 of 3 and as you see, I was correct. I told our players when we started this thing that we’re going to have this hold together because we don’t know how to win. Today was an example of that, we were lazy. The turnovers were lazy, we were not mentally strong at all. It’s an acquired trait and as a basketball team you have to acquire the trait, you have to learn it, and you have to earn it. We don’t have it right now, which is not disturbing it’s just fact. We have a saying, “it is what it is,” and this is what it is right now. We have to learn, we have to dig deep individually and collectively in order to put forth the effort to win basketball games and learn how to win. We talk about the value of two points a lot, it’s all I ever grew up on. The value of two points, every possession both sides of the ball. We don’t do that right now. 21 turnovers for 32 points, and they were mentally lazy turnovers. 13 fast-break points for them, 21 turnovers, 16 second chance points. Those are things that you have to be mentally strong in order to take care of. If we do any of the above we win this game and we win the last game, but we don’t know how to do it. We’re beating ourselves, the one thing we don’t want to do is beat ourselves. But we are right now, so we have to fix that.”
Do you think you’re not getting the effort that you need from the team?
“It’s being mentally weak and not understanding how to win or the value of two points. Effort is one thing and we didn’t have effort from the starting lineup tonight or last game it wasn’t there and I don’t know why, they have to answer that for themselves. But I have to make a change and put an energy player in there, I don’t know who it is going to be yet but something has to change because that can’t continue.”
Why did you keep Colson in over Plum?
“The reason I had Colson at the end of the game is because she brought the spark, she pushed the ball up the floor, she got us into things. She can’t shoot as well as Plum, but I’ll take that energy of getting us into stuff on both sides of the ball all day long. I owe it the rest of the team to play the people that are going to play hard.”
What are your thoughts on playing Wilson and Cambage at the same time?
“Well we’re getting there. It’s hard to start both those players at the same time because Liz is on a minute restriction, so I have to work her way into the lineup at times. It’s difficult to have to start you for five, six minutes then you have to sit for all this time. You have to figure out what works and have Liz and A’ja there for only six minutes and then we go on with the game and Liz can really be a second unit out there, she’s a scorer. So it will change when Liz has the opportunity to be on the floor for more time.”
Aja Wilson Quotes
How did you deal with your current allergic reaction during the game?
This was from yesterday, as soon as we landed from Arizona my face got itchy and swelly. I don’t know where it came from, we don’t know where it’s coming from. It has been going down tremendously but I just kind of broke out, we’re still working with it.
Did it affect you at all during the game today?
A little bit, I can see the swelling in my eyes, other than that I just pushed it aside, you still gotta get through it.
How frustrating is it to play like the team did tonight and hearing coach say it was a lazy effort?
It’s very upsetting to hear, to see it, to be out there, and to hear your coach say that. You never want to disappoint your coach, specially if you put in the hard work in practices and he knows that’s not us. It’s tough to play through it of course but at the same time we just gotta really back in as a team, get mentally tough, mentally together, and keep pushing through.
What are things that need to change for next game?
It goes back to coach saying that the lazy things that we’ve done and that we normally didn’t do in the past kind of showed today, and we can’t have that. At the same time, we have to come together, it’s a team effort. We’ve all been in this situation so we have to lift each other up.
On transition game…
You know, tonight was not a great shooting night again for us. It’s been a tough road trip shooting for us. To our credit we didn’t give up a lot of transition points. Our defense created a lot of points in transition ourselves and off turnovers. In a night where you don’t shoot well to gut out a win against this talented of a team is special for this young group and shows you don’t always have to have an A game to win.
On Jonquel Jones play tonight…
Its a big challenge going against A’ja Wilson, Liz, Carolyn, they just keep coming at you with bigs. She didn’t make some shots she’s capable of making but she stayed in so many defense of plays. And she was good around the rim rebounding so you see the maturation of her game and she’s gonna be a really talented player for a really long time.
On hot start and what stays the same/changes going forward…
We aren’t shooting the ball well at all and we lead the league in scoring last year so its a little concerning on why were struggling so much so that needs to be cleaned up. But you have a team thats been playing together for 4 years and the chemistry is apparent especially in the defensive end. We have taken a step defensively this year earlier in the season and hopefully that goes well for the year.
On the game tonight…
I thought it was a really gritty game for us. We were able to tough it out. We didn’t shoot as well as we would have liked to but anytime we walk away with a W it feels good.
On what the game was like down low tonight…
I was just able to get to the free throw line and that really helped me out a lot. Our shots weren’t falling so being able to get to the line really helped us out a lot.
On playing in Vegas…
Playing in Vegas is really fun. That atmosphere is great. I think thats the toughest part about playing here. Obviously they have great players but the fans are really loud and it kind of reminds me of an NCAA environment.
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