BRADENTON, FL (August 4, 2020)—The Las Vegas Aces and Washington Mystics renew their rivalry Wednesday evening as the Aces travel to Palmetto, Florida to take on the 2019 WNBA Champions. Tip is slated for 8 pm ET/5 pm PT on MyLVTV.
Las Vegas and Washington faced off in the WNBA Semifinals a year ago, with the Mystics advancing to the Finals with a three-games-to-one victory.
The Aces and Mystics have an unusual history with one another. On July 5 of last year, an earthquake in Southern California rattled Las Vegas just before the completion of the first half. The game was postponed until August 5 with the Mystics eventually picking up the win. A year earlier, Las Vegas endured a 25-hour travel nightmare in getting from Nevada to Washington, landing just a few hours before tip. The team opted not to play due to safety concerns, and ended up forfeiting the game.
The teams’ coaches, Bill Laimbeer and Mike Thibault, have a long history as well, having squared off against each other more than any other pair of coaches—47 times. Laimbeer owns a 29-18 record in head-to-head meetings against Thibault in the regular season,
The pair has also met a record six times during the postseason. Laimbeer’s Detroit Shock knocked Thibault’s Connecticut Sun teams out of the playoffs in 2003 and 2006, while the Sun ended the Shock’s 2005 campaign. Laimbeer’s New York Liberty beat Thibault’s Mystics in the 2015 postseason, with Thibault and company exacting their revenge in the 2017 playoffs. No other pair of coaches has tangled in the postseason more than Laimbeer and Thibault (Minnesota’s Cheryl Reeve and Dallas’ Brian Agler have also met six times in the playoffs).
In 2020, the Mystics and Aces boast two of the top three highest-scoring offenses in the league averaging 92.5 and 90.0 points per game respectively. The WNBA record for single-season scoring average for a team is 93.9 set by the Phoenix Mercury back in 2010. The Merc lead the W in scoring average this season as well at 93.5 points per game.
However the teams’ styles couldn’t be more different. The Mystics play outside-in, leading the WNBA in three-point field goal percentage (.406), while taking 24.0 shots from beyond the arc each game. One out of every three Mystics shots is a three-ball, and 31.6 percent of their points come from long distance.
Meanwhile the Aces are built inside-out, with 84.7 percent of their shots coming from inside the arc. They connect on 37.2 percent of their shots from three-point range, which is good enough for fourth best in the league, but take just 10.8 per game.
Las Vegas improved to 2-2 on the season, Sunday, with a seven-point, wire-to-wire win over the Dallas Wings. Five players scored in double figures for the Aces, led by A’ja Wilson’s 17. The two-time All-Star ranks second in the WNBA in scoring and fifth in rebounding.
Las Vegas has three-other double digit scorers in its lineup—five-time All-Star and two-time Olympian Angel McCoughtry (14.8), 2019 Sixth Woman of the Year Dearica Hamby (13.5), and three-time All-Star Kayla McBride (10.8).
Defensively, the Aces are the top rebounding team in the league, grabbing 83.0 percent of all opponent miscues. The Mystics are second in the league at 81.4 percent.
The Aces are 23-27 all-time against the Mystics, including the postseason.