Young’s career-high helps Vegas escape Phoenix with a win over Mercury
On Wednesday, May 26, the Las Vegas Aces (3-2) struggled to get a win against a Phoenix Mercury (2-3) team without all-star guard Diana Taurasi.
Tarausi is out for four weeks with a fractured sternum that occured on May 16 but the injury was not found until two games later.
HIGHLIGHT OF GAME
Aces’ forward Dearica Hamby made a game-changing layup at the 1:06 mark to take the lead 80-79 lead over the Mercury. On the next play, Las Vegas played tough defense on the next possession, forcing Phoenix’s Brittney Griner to commit an offensive foul in the form of a moving screen.
Mercury guard Skylar Diggins-Smith would then foul Aces’ guard Riquna Williams on a three-point shot attempt, stretching the lead to four points.
The Aces controlled the pace for most of the duration of the game, however, the team still “force feeds” the post with Cambage and reigning MVP forward A’Ja Wilson, unable to spread out the floor.
Now, with guards Chelsea Gray and Jackie Young, it seems difficult to space the floor when the team rarely takes three-point shots. The team collectively shot 28% shooting 4-for-16 from the three-point line and 44% from the field shooting 33-for-75.
Young led the Aces in scoring with her career of 27 points and six rebounds. Wilson joined her teammate recording 16 points and nine rebounds.
Gray and Cambage also posted double-digit scoring nights. Gray recorded 15 points and nine assists while Cambage recorded 10 points and eight rebounds.
The Las Vegas Aces struggled in pick-and-roll situations limiting their defensive rebounds and giving them trouble defending the three point shot making their rotational size of the six-foot, eight-inch Cambage as a disadvantage.
Both the Aces’ and Mercury’s Cambge and Griner traded buckets the entire duration of the game. Last year, both players decided to opt-out of the bubble.
Cambage was more concerned about her health and stayed to play in Australia while Griner chose to sit out due to Covid-19.
Mercury almost lost their second best player at the five-minute mark in the second quarter. Griner went to the floor after a hit to the chest from Cambage on a post-up move. She returned to the game after a timeout and finished where she started, battling Cambage to attempt to carry her team to a win.
Las Vegas could not do anything to attempt to slow down or stop Griner as she recorded a double-double with 27 points and 11 rebounds on 12-of-16 and 3-for-3 at the free throw line. Diggins-Smith was a problem for Las Vegas as well, recording a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds.
The Aces won the rebound battle 36-33 but the eye opener in the game was the defensive pressure of the Aces as they recorded eight steals and forced 13 turnovers.
The Aces will be back at home to face Indiana Fever on Friday, May 28.
Las Vegas sits at number four in the WNBA standings and number two in the Western Conference.