Las Vegas Aces’ Bond On And Off The Court Leads To Success
Jul 5, 2023, 9:13 AM
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS (AP) – Candace Parker sees a lot of similarities between the Las Vegas Aces and the 2016 Los Angeles Sparks team she played for that won a WNBA title.
A lot of it has to do with the friendships the players share off the court.
“Our team was really, really close,” said Parker, who came to Las Vegas as a free agent in the offseason. “I don’t think it’s by accident that you have success on the court when you’re cool off the court.”
— Las Vegas Aces (@LVAces) July 5, 2023
“In terms of the mentality of this team it reminds me a lot of 2016,” Parker said. “It was just business-like game to game. It didn’t matter the result, it was whether we did what we were supposed to do.”
If the Aces keep playing the way they are, they have a chance to approach the 1998 Houston Comets team that went 27-3 for the highest winning percentage in league history.
The Las Vegas Aces are the third team in WNBA history to start 14-1 🔥
The 2016 Sparks and 1998 Comets went on to win the title. Can the Aces follow in their footsteps? 🤔🏆 pic.twitter.com/4f4g5Ev5Xq
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 30, 2023
With the core group of A’ja Wilson, Chelsea Gray, Kelsey Plum and Jackie Young signed through 2024, this team could be really good for a long time. The Aces announced Wilson’s two-year extension last Friday. Wilson, Gray and Young are starting in the All-Star Game in Las Vegas on July 15. Plum was named a reserve Saturday.
Las Vegas has been winning by an average of 15.6 points a game and is playing a very unselfish style of basketball, averaging 22 assists a game — second in the league behind New York.
“We just like sharing the ball,” Aces guard Chelsea Gray said. “We have a lot of really good passers and really good scorers.”
The Aces, who have won eight straight games, are unbeaten at home this season and remain atop the AP WNBA power poll.
— Las Vegas Aces (@LVAces) July 1, 2023
AP WNBA Poll
New York moved into second place in the poll after beating Connecticut on the road last week. The Sun fell to third. They were followed by Washington, Dallas and Atlanta. Chicago was seventh with Minnesota and Los Angeles next. Indiana was 10th as Seattle and Phoenix rounded out the poll.
Chicago’s James Wade stepped down as coach and general manager on Saturday to take an assistant coaching position with the Toronto Raptors. That means that Cheryl Reeve is the only coach to hold her current position for more than two years. She took over in 2010. Every other team in the WNBA has changed its coach since Seattle hired Noelle Quinn in June 2021.
Wade’s departure was the second coaching change in the past two weeks after Phoenix fired Vanessa Nygaard on June 25.
— Las Vegas Aces (@LVAces) July 3, 2023
Player of the Week
Minnesota’s Napheesa Collier averaged 26.7 points, nine rebounds, and 2.3 blocks to help the Lynx win all three of their games last week.
The Lynx swept a home-and-home set with Seattle and beat Phoenix. Other players receiving votes included Kelsey Plum of Las Vegas, Breanna Stewart of New York, Satou Sabally of Dallas, and Courtney Williams of Chicago.
Brittney Griner and the Phoenix Mercury have a two-game road trip to New York and Minnesota this week before playing at home against Los Angeles on Sunday.
♦️ 𝐅𝐎𝐔𝐑-𝐎𝐅-𝐀-𝐊𝐈𝐍𝐃 ♠️
— Las Vegas Aces (@LVAces) July 1, 2023
Griner didn’t play on the team’s last trip to New York a few weeks ago because of a hip injury.
She returned on June 24 and has continued her stellar season averaging 19.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.1 blocks.
Game of the Week
Dallas at Las Vegas, Wednesday. The Aces can almost assuredly wrap up the Western Conference spot in the Commissioner’s Cup with a win over the Wings.
Las Vegas would have a three-game lead over Minnesota with three games left. The Aces beat the Lynx in the first meeting and hold an overwhelming 164-point lead in point differential between the teams.