Aces coach Becky Hammon has been upfront with her players about what frustrates her. “I’ll yell at you if you don’t release it and you’re open,” she said. “And I’ll yell at you and let you know if you shoot and you don’t open up.”
So far, this message has been received loud and clear. By 10 games, Las Vegas plays the best offensive tackle in the WNBA. He makes the most three throws, plays at full speed and takes first place in points in every match. Having claimed their ninth league win on Tuesday night after defeating the Sun 89-81, the Aces crossed the quarter mark for the 2022 season as the winning team, and the five starting dynamic quickly became the league’s most dominant group.
Against Connecticut, it took until the second quarter for Las Vegas to look like the team that attacked countless opponents to open the 2022 campaign. But a 10-0 run halfway through the second gave Las Vegas their first double-digit advantage. He will lead by eight points in the first half and will never be late in the last 20 minutes of the match.
Aja Wilson scored a first-half double, and finished the match with 24 points and 14 rebounds. Playing in the backcourt in Las Vegas was impressive, with Kelsey Bloom scoring 13 of 18 points at the end of the first half and Jackie Young adding 15 points in the 18 minutes of the first half.
Young finished the win with 21 points, the latest in a string of impressive performances. Under Hammon, she was in the middle of her career, with her average scoring jumping from 12.2 per game in 2021 to 18.2 on Tuesday.
“She’s a player who plays really at both ends of the earth at a really elite level,” Hamon said in May.
Stats filler lines up the Aces list. Strikers Derica Hamby and Wilson entered the match against Al Shams and tied for the top of the league on rebounds (10 per game). Keepers Chelsea Gray and Bloom were both in the league’s top five for assists.
After Plame won her sixth Woman of the Year award, he’s back as a nightclub player for the first time in three seasons. “F—seat”, is Tell the athlete earlier this year. “I’m tired of being off the bench. I’m a key player in this league and I know that; I think everyone does it.” And with her on the court, along with Wilson, Hamby, Gray and Young, Las Vegas entered fifth on Tuesday. With an eye-catching net rating as well as 24.3 at 177 minuteswhich is nearly twice the amount of time the second most used player in the first five game played in the WNBA.
Part of this usage stems from having a short dunk, with aces averaging no more than 16 minutes per game. But at the same time, Hammon has also managed the core workload, with only Plame and Young playing more than 30 minutes per game.
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Pre-season, Hamon, Who was in her first year as a coach for the team after agreeing to a high salary in the leagueTalk about wanting to change the way the franchise is played. I talked about increasing spacing, ball movement and speed. So far, given that Hammon has now set the record for the top 10 games of his coaching career, it looks as if the team’s tweaks have worked wonders.
“It’s not very different in terms of people, but very different in terms of playing style,” Sun assistant coach Chris Kuklanis said before Tuesday’s game.
Said Bloom last week: “Becky makes it so simple for us. She simplifies it. There aren’t a lot of rules. So in an offensive way, move the ball, find the right person, make the right decision.”
Against the sun, the Aces did it more often. Once again, they racked up more passes than their opponent and took advantage of several transfer opportunities, surpassing Connecticut 22-2 on break points.
The Sun will get a chance to get revenge on the Aces on Thursday night, but Las Vegas issued a clear statement after dropping all three games against Connecticut last season. Additionally, in Tuesday’s win, the Aces now have wins over each of the top six playoff teams in the league from ’21.
Before winning against Heaven on Sunday, Hammon admitted she didn’t want her team to click all the cylinders just yet, warning that she’d rather peak in the playoffs than in May. Such an assessment makes sense, but there’s no good reason to suggest that Las Vegas is slowing down anytime soon. And while Hammon can sometimes get frustrated with her players for missing open shots, their affinity for taking — and making — often angered opponents and kept the rest of the league informed.
“I think the most encouraging thing for me is their ability to learn,” Hamon said after Tuesday’s win. “They respond when I challenge them. We still get to know each other. They get to know what makes me tick. They sure already know what’s driving me crazy. But we’re just working on who we are. The opponent really doesn’t matter, we want to continue to be who we are. It has to strengthen who we are.”
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