The Las Vegas Aces are off to a franchise-best undefeated start to the season, but if you ask head coach Becky Hammon, they’re not yet playing up to their potential.
“We’re starting to put the pieces together. I don’t think we’re playing our best basketball,” she said following the team’s 90-84 win over the Connecticut Sun on Tuesday night.
“I’m kinda happy we’re not playing our best basketball yet. We always wanna be improving and learning and building good habits. We’re growing on this road trip because we have been put on the ropes a little bit.”
After beginning the season with three double-digit wins, Las Vegas was taken to the brink against the 2-3 Atlanta Dream and the 1-5 Indiana Fever last week. On Tuesday, the first-place Aces held off the Sun despite a late surge from the WNBA’s second-place team.
Hammon noted that some players are struggling with shooting slumps. Candace Parker was 2-for-6 with five points on Tuesday, while Plum finished with 17 points and six assists despite going 6-for-15 from the field and 1-for-4 from 3-point range.
In total, the Aces — who finished atop the league in 3-pointers made last season — connected on just four 3s on Tuesday night.
“If that’s my worst worry, I’m a happy camper because that worm will turn, no doubt. I’m more concerned about the defense,” Hammon said. “The crazy thing about Plum is she’s been in the game because of her defense, not because of her shooting recently.”
The reigning WNBA champions were bolstered by 2022 MVP A’ja Wilson, who had 23 points and 10 rebounds on 9-of-13 shooting. The Aces’ defense also held strong as Rebecca Allen attempted to rally the Sun with 22 points off the bench on 6-of-7 shooting from 3-point range.
Made it 7 wins in a row as 4 Aces scored in double figures 📽️Wilson: 23 PTS / 10 REB / 4 BLK / 9-13 FGYoung: 22 PTS / 7 REB / 6 AST / 3 STL / 54% FGPlum: 17 PTS / 6 AST / 40% FGGray: 14 PTS / 6 REB / 7 AST / 2 STL#ALLINLV pic.twitter.com/hwBlMaWAYi— Las Vegas Aces (@LVAces) June 7, 2023
Made it 7 wins in a row as 4 Aces scored in double figures 📽️Wilson: 23 PTS / 10 REB / 4 BLK / 9-13 FGYoung: 22 PTS / 7 REB / 6 AST / 3 STL / 54% FGPlum: 17 PTS / 6 AST / 40% FGGray: 14 PTS / 6 REB / 7 AST / 2 STL#ALLINLV pic.twitter.com/hwBlMaWAYi
“My emphasis to the team has just been take good (shots). You’re not gonna shoot your way out of a slump shooting bad ones,” Hammon said. “So, continue to take the good ones. Continue to keep reading defenses.”
Hammon, the 2022 WNBA Coach of the Year, returned to the sidelines on May 27 after serving a two-game suspension for violating the league’s Respect in the Workplace policy due to comments made to former player Dearica Hamby.