On Saturday, the Las Vegas Aces suffered a rare defeat.
The Aces lost to the Mystics 78-62 in what was just their fifth loss of the season. Late in the contest, coach Becky Hammon could sense what was coming and made a strategic move, pulling her starters with 3:04 remaining.
“We didn’t have any legs,” Hammon told the media after. “We weren’t winning that game.”
Hammon said she had considered resting some key players before the game, acknowledging that the Aces are “just tired.”
Las Vegas went into halftime with a slim 30-27 lead. Things began to unravel in the second half, as the Mystics outscored the Aces 25-18 in the third quarter. Las Vegas couldn’t put up a counter effort in the fourth quarter, and so Hammon made the move.
Guard Kelsey Plum scored 21 points on 46 percent shooting for the Aces, but the rest of the team struggled. Las Vegas shot a season-low 30.8 percent from the field and 20.7 percent from long range. A’ja Wilson, who tied a WNBA single-game record with 53 points last week, scored just 14 points on 4 of 12 shooting.
“We didn’t do what we needed to do to win this game,” Plum said. “Give credit to them, but we’ve got to pack this one up and move on.”
Plum added: “This is not the end of our season, you know what I’m saying?”
The Aces (30-5) remain the top team in the WNBA with five games remaining in the regular season. Hammon’s team can get back on track Monday against the New York Liberty on the road.