A’ja Wilson says she is still processing the Las Vegas Aces’ Game 5 semifinal loss to the Phoenix Mercury.
“Five games, I don’t know what it is but it must be like a semifinal five-game thing with us, because we went to five games with Conn [the Connecticut Sun] last year and five games with Phoenix this year,” she said.
“But it was a hard-fought series. I feel like we could’ve done better in some games and it put us in a bad situation,” said Wilson on the latest Tea with A & Phee podcast.
Wilson and the Aces fell to the Mercury in a down-to-the-wire Game 5, with Phoenix pulling out the last-minute 87-84 win to advance to the WNBA Finals.
“This was probably the worst I’ve ever felt, I thought last year was tough… but this year, I don’t know what it was, but it was one of the toughest games that I’ve ever had to deal with, and I still feel like I’m kind of dealing with it honestly.”
Following the heartbreaking defeat, Wilson said she first called her South Carolina coach Dawn Staley, who helped her process the setback.
“Before I went into media, the first person I called was coach Staley, because I feel like she is the only one that could really understand how I felt, because she’s seen me in these positions so many times,” Wilson said. “She just really said, If you dwell on this you’re going to miss out when your time comes, so the biggest thing is just take it and just understand, okay this wasn’t my year, and then say, okay how can I be better? What can I do differently?”
Even with Staley’s advice, the game was still difficult for Wilson to deal with, saying what hurts the most is feeling like “you didn’t do what you needed to do or that you could’ve done more.”
Though Wilson is still coming to grips with the season’s end, her focus is on what’s ahead, declaring, “We got next year.”
Listen to A’ja Wilson and Napheesa Collier’s full conversation about the WNBA Playoffs on Tea with A and Phee.