ATLANTA — Though they only played in one, the Las Vegas Aces lost two games on Tuesday.
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Shortly before their 109-100 loss to the Atlanta Dream at McCamish Pavilion, the WNBA announced that the canceled game between the Aces and the Washington Mystics from Aug. 3 would go down as a forfeit for Bill Laimbeer and company.
After about 26 hours of being trapped on planes and in airports, the Aces landed in Washington D.C. on Friday about four hours before of a delayed tip-off time of 8 p.m. Still, the Aces opted not to face the Mystics, saying in a statement that playing the game after little rest would put their players “at too great a risk for injury.”
After their games on Tuesday, players and coaches from the Mystics, Aces and Dream chimed in on the decision from the WNBA to rule the game as a forfeit.
Aces coach Bill Laimbeer: “What happened in the Washington game is past history now. We’re focused on each game we’re playing right now, coming in and playing as hard as we can to try and win games and we had a chance tonight and just didn’t get it done… We were so tired on that one day, but other than that, we’re ready to go.”
Mystics forward Elena Delle Donne: “I think this is a record for the WNBA (winning two games in one day). That brings me back to the AAU days and playing a bunch of games in one day. Luckily, we only had to play one and win two. We’ll take it, we will take it.”
Aces forward A’ja Wilson: “I don’t think (the game vs. the Dream) was necessarily tough (because of the forfeit announcement). I’m glad that it got out, so people can know what’s going on and keep moving past it. It just kept coming up and you just get tired of talking about it. But I don’t think it’s tough on us. We still have the same mentality, if we would have played the game or not… We can only control what we can control. We really didn’t know (what the league was going to rule). It’s not like we were waiting to see, because we have other games to play. We’re in a league and this league just keeps going. We really didn’t have time to keep focusing on that.”
Mystics coach Mike Thibault: “Two wins in a day, that must be a first in our league. I don’t even know what to say about that. I feel like it was an unfortunate thing for Vegas, but it’s the rules. I’ve been in similar situations. I know people don’t believe that, but (when) everyone’s tired, it’s a tough situation. But there were 5,000 people waiting for the two teams to play and we had to send them all home… It was a great day (for the Mystics). I don’t like winning games the way we won the game against Vegas, I’d rather have done it on the court. But that was their choice, and it wasn’t our choice. We had nothing to do with that, and that’s the way it works out.”
Aces guard Kelsey Plum: “I think we were trying to focus on this game. Atlanta is a really good team and we were trying to get a win, so I think all of our focus was here. (The forfeit) is in the past.”
Dream coach Nicki Collen: “We certainly knew that this Vegas team, coming into this game, had an added incentive with the ruling coming out from the WNBA that (their game vs. Washington) was a forfeit. I just knew the odds were stacked against us for a team that was going to come out really fired up.”
Aces guard Kayla McBride: “We were just excited to be (in Atlanta) and to play again. (The forfeit) is in the past. We made that decision as a team the other day and we’re here now and we were focused on Atlanta… It is what it is. We stand by our decision.
Dream forward Elizabeth Williams: “The decision that (the Aces) made, they were pretty clear about it in their statement, that they just felt like physically they couldn’t perform to the best of their ability (vs. Washington). I think going in that they knew a forfeit was very possible and we knew that they were going to be fired up after they made that announcement.”
High Post Hoops staff writer Alex Simon contributed to this story.