Without Cambage, Las Vegas still takes care of Chicago, 90-83
The Las Vegas Aces (20-7) prevailed over the Chicago Sky (14-14) despite a double-digit comeback in the second half as the Aces won, 90-83 at the Michelob Ultra Arena.
Despite being without center Liz Cambage and forward Dearica Hamby, Las Vegas was still able to secure a win.
“We would like to see [Hamby] as healthy as possible, completely healthy for the rest of the season, I probably would expect her back before Liz,” head coach Bill Laimbeer said.
Cambage did not play due to health and safety protocol after testing positive for COVID-19 with minor symptoms, while Hamby remains out due to her ankle.
The Aces’ win moves them a half-game closer to the Connecticut Sun, who sit in the number one spot with a record of 21-6.
Las Vegas is currently two games ahead of Seattle (19-10) and two-and-a-half games ahead of Minnesota (17-9).
The team still has another matchup with Minnesota scheduled this season.
The Aces will be back on the road against the Sky ending back-to-back matchups with Chicago on Sunday, Sept. 5.
Tip-off is set for 12 p.m. on ABC.
Las Vegas nearly led for the duration of the game as they dominated Chicago through the first three quarters of the game.
In the first quarter the Aces ended the frame leading by 17 points, 31-14. The largest lead of the game would eventually be 19 points.
“We’re solid players, we have a lot of really talented players,” Laimbeer said. “They are smart, they understand basketball and web made plays down the stretch.”
Las Vegas continued its dominant performance against Chicago going into halftime with a 16-point lead, 52-36.
Coming out of the half the Sky began their comeback as they cut into the lead to make it a four-point game by the end of the third quarter.
“We have to play hard for 40 minutes or you're going to let teams back in and then it is a dog fight,” forward A’ja Wilson said. “Yes, it is fun to watch but it is hell to play in.”
Chicago scored 10 unanswered points with Las Vegas leading by 14 with two minutes to go before the fourth quarter.
The Sky took their first lead of the game since the first quarter, 79-77, with 4:40 left in regulation.
The Aces would go on a 10-0 run to close out the Sky and their hopes of stealing a road win in Vegas.
Wilson emphasized that as a collective unit they need to continue to execute and lock-in because of their efforts in the second half, especially with playoffs on the way.
“We could have easily lost this game because of errors that we made that we are going to have to clean that we made moving forward,” Laimbeer said.
Second chance points were important in the game, especially without their superstar Cambage. The Aces led 13-6 in second chance points at the conclusion of the game.
Aces shot 4-for-10 from three-point range while holding the Sky to 8-of-24, as neither team shot particularly well from distance.
Las Vegas had five players score in double figures on the night.
Wilson recorded her 14th double-double on the year and the 34th of her career with 21 points and 10 rebounds.
Guards Kelsey Plum, Riquna Williams and Chelsea Gray also played a significant part in the Aces win against the Sky.
Plum tallied 21 points and a career-high five steals while Williams posted 21 points, four rebounds and three assists.
Gray added 13 points, six rebounds and five rebounds.
Center Kiah Stokes filled in with Cambage being out and she recorded 13 rebounds, in addition to a milestone career moment by grabbing her 1,000-rebound.
“All of them went crazy today,” Wilson said. “I was just as entertained as the fans were but just on the court playing alongside and watching it. They’re a key part.”