LAS VEGAS, NV (August 12, 2019)—With nine games remaining in the regular season, Las Vegas is closing in on the franchise’s first trip to the postseason since 2014 when they were the San Antonio Stars. Three more wins would guarantee the Aces a spot in the playoffs, and they can take another step in that direction Tuesday evening as they welcome the Atlanta Dream to Mandalay Bay Events Center for a 7 pm PT tip (Watch Coach Johnson’s video scout).
Las Vegas improved to 16-9 on Sunday, and 5-2 since losing two-time All-Star A’ja Wilson to an ankle injury, in an, 89-81, victory over the Connecticut Sun. That win dropped the sun into second place in the WNBA standings, one game back of Washington (17-7), and a half game ahead of the Aces and Los Angeles (15-8).
Liz Cambage posted her second-straight 20-10 game with 21 points and 12 rebounds against the Sun. She has made 20 of her last 35 shots from the field since returning from her one-game hiatus (read Liz’s story in the Players’ Tribune). Dearica Hamby has stepped up in Wilson’s absence, averaging 13.9 points and 9.4 rebounds over her last seven games.
The Aces’ defense has actually been better over the past seven games, holding opponents to 72.0 points per game as compared to 77.5 over Las Vegas’ first 18 games. The team continues to boast the best defense in the league, leading the W in Defensive Efficiency, Opponent Field Goal Percentage, and Defensive Rebound Percentage.
Atlanta, who had the second best record in the league a year ago, and lost in the WNBA semifinals to the Washington Mystics, enters the week with a 5-19 record, despite returning six of their top seven scorers from a year ago. The lone exception is Angel McCoughtry who injured her knee on August 7 last year in a game against the Aces.
The Dream had the best defense in the league a year ago, but have fallen to 10th this season. And an offensive that struggled to a ninth place ranking in 2018, is now last in the WNBA.
Tiffany Hayes leads the team in scoring averaging 14.0 points per game. Brittney Sykes also averages double figures at 10.7 points per game, but the team as a whole is making just 36.6 percent of its shots which is last in the league.
Las Vegas won the first meeting this season between the teams, 92-69. Cambage and Hamby led six Aces in double figures, scoring 15 points apiece. The teams play a third time this year in the penultimate game of the regular season for Las Vegas on September 5.