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Aces in driver’s seat heading into WNBA Playoffs

Updated: Nov 24, 2020

Coming off a win over the Seattle Storm to conclude the regular season, the Las Vegas Aces are headed into the WNBA postseason as the No. 1 seed with an 18-4 overall record.

Vegas has won six straight and are winners of nine of their last 10 contests.

The team’s last loss came against the Phoenix Mercury on Sept. 1. In fact, two of the Aces’ four losses are at the hands of the Mercury.

In addition, the Chicago Sky are responsible for the other two blemishes on the Las Vegas record.

Phoenix and Chicago are the No. 5 and No. 6 seeds in the postseason and will play in the first round beginning Tuesday, Sept. 15.

Despite having an identical 18-4 record as the Storm, Vegas was awarded the No. 1 spot after sweeping the season series away from Seattle.

This is the first time since 2011 and 2012 that the Las Vegas franchise has been to the postseason in back-to-back years.

Last year’s team lost to the eventual world champion Washington Mystics in four games.

Formerly the San Antonio Stars, this is the franchise’s third season in Las Vegas.

Two years ago, the team missed the postseason by a half game after forfeiting a game that it later learned would’ve been canceled due to travel.

Prior to the start of this season, Vegas was dealt two major blows as guard Kelsey Plum was ruled out for the season with an achilles injury and star center Liz Cambage, who received a medical exemption and decided to opt-out of the season.

Cambage recently signed with the Southside Flyers of the Women’s National Basketball League in Australia.

Combined both players accounted for 24.5 points per game, 11 rebounds per game, over five assists per game and one and a half steals and blocks per game.

However this year’s Aces team posted a league-best 88.7 points per game, six and a half more points than last year’s team in a condensed year.

The coronavirus pandemic forced the WNBA into a 22-game regular season as opposed to the traditional 34-game schedule.

In her third season, A’ja Wilson upped her scoring from 16.5 points per game last season to 20.5 points per game this season, good for second in the WNBA.

She scored over 20 points in 15 of the 22 games with a season-high of 31 points against the New York Liberty on August 9.

There were increases across the board for Wilson as she increased her rebounds per game (6.4 to 8.5), steals per game (0.5 to 1.2) and blocks per game (1.7 to 2.0), all while averaging two assists a game and cutting her turnovers down.

Her two blocks a game make her tied for first in that category.

Many expect Wilson to be named the league’s Most Valuable Player.

11-year veteran Angel McCoughtry, who missed all of last season after playing in one game, is averaging 14.4 points per game this season which is her lowest since her rookie year.

However, her near 15 points per game ranks second on this Vegas team and is a far cry from the superstar performances expected of her earlier in her career which has benefited both parties.

A potential Sixth Woman of the Year, Dearica Hamby is having a career-year averaging 13 points per game on 54 percent shooting from the field and 47 percent from three-point range.

She ranks third in the league in three-point percentage.

Moreover, the Aces have been getting 23.5 points per game and more than six assists from the guard duo of Kayla McBride and Jackie Young.

Young moved to the bench this season after an up-and-down rookie season.

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