Aces now 11-5, inch closer to All-Star break
The Las Vegas Aces improved to 11-5 with a win over the weekend against the Washington Mystics. Sydney Colson joined All-Star starters Kayla McBride, A’ja Wilson and Liz Cambage in double figures as the Mystics played without the services of Elena Delle Donne (nose).
A’ja goes right, A’ja goes left
Cambage and Wilson combined to score on the three ensuing Aces possessions after Kristi Toliver tied the game at 75 with 1:47 to play. Wilson’s drive to put the team up four should have looked familiar. It was a mirror image of a drive by Emma Meesseman from the first quarter.
Wilson and Camabge are now two of the league’s top clutch scorers this season. Per WNBA.com, Wilson is shooting 14-of-19 in the final five minutes of games with a margin of five points or fewer. Cambage is 11-of-18.
About last time…
Not that last time. The one before that.
The Aces were plus-14 in points in the paint Saturday, compared to minus-six in the June 20 blowout loss in Las Vegas. Just 17.1 percent of their shot attempts came from beyond the arc compared to 38.9 for Washington. That margin was much smaller in the first meeting—23.2 and 29.4 percent, respectively.
Colson’s big night
Vegas was only plus-three in free throws made and attempted, but those marks were buoyed by Colson’s 11 free throw attempts (previous career high: six).
Five of them came from a foul in the backcourt while Washington was in the bonus and a 3-point shooting foul. The other three, all at the expense of Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, point to the value she and Jackie Young can add driving to the rim.
This can certainly be more ‘something’ than ‘nothing’ for Colson, using that quickness to surprise people that are probably expecting her to first look to set a shooter up coming off a screen or enter it into Cambage or Wilson.
Meesseman meets McBride
The Aces got their first look at Emma Meesseman, who missed the June 20 meeting and the earthquake game while away for EuroBasket, in 2019. A big-picture question that hangs over this year’s championship conversation centers around Meesseman’s re-integration with a group that made the Finals without her last season.
The Aces won’t get a look at the full-strength 2019 Mystics unless they meet in the postseason. Meesseman undoubtedly makes them tougher to scheme for and defend. We just don’t know what their final rotation will look like and how it may shift in different matchups.
Meesseman and McBride had a fun exchange Saturday as McBride drilled a 3-pointer in her face after Meesseman had scored over her inside.
This doesn’t happen often to Wilson. The length of LaToya Sanders comes up often. She’s among the league leaders in the very unofficial, untracked surprise block rankings.
It’s not that Sanders isn’t a good shot blocker. But if you focus too much on her relative size at the 5 spot, you forget how often blocks and deflections like this tend to happen. So much of the appeal with Sanders comes down to just being present. She stays in plays and gives herself a chance to alter and block shots.
In 3019, when we finally start officially measuring wingspans of draft prospects, some part of the process needs to be named after Sanders.
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