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Photo Credit: Las Vegas Aces

FSM Presents: 2021 Mid-Season Review: Las Vegas Aces

Franchise Sports Media


FSM’s Cole Huff breaks down the first half of the Las Vegas Aces’ 2021 season with his mid-season coverage of the team.




The 2021 WNBA season has reached its intermission, and the Las Vegas Aces find themselves in another race for first place with the Seattle Storm, as was the case in last season’s Wubble. Yet, currently, as the two-seed in the standings, the Aces have in a way flown under the radar. Their dominance has seemingly been underappreciated due to the pre-season expectations that were loft upon the stacked roster.

Mid-Season Review
Photo Credit: Las Vegas Aces

Through 21 games, Vegas has proven to be the league’s most dominant team on the offensive end of the court. Their 107.0 offensive rating leads the WNBA, and so do their 90.7 points per game average, which checks out given the Aces’ personnel and the production they’ve received from each player. A’ja Wilson’s 19.4 points per game leads the six Aces players that are averaging in double-figures on the season, with a seventh (Riquna Williams) being just a point away.

Alongside Wilson is Liz Cambage to form a dominant scoring duo around the rim, one that couples to make Vegas’ paint-scoring (41.6) the best amongst the 12 teams. Of course, you can’t mention points in the paint without factoring in Dearica Hamby’s immediate contributions from off the bench, as well as Chelsea Gray’s ability to spoonfeed her teammates at the basket in both half-court sets and in transition. And to top it off, last season’s and this season’s bench guards, Jackie Young and Kelsey Plum are enjoying arguably the best and most impactful seasons of their young careers.

Tied with the Connecticut Sun with a 95.1 defensive rating, the Aces’ defensive is as stellar as their offense — allowing the lowest opponent field-goal percentage and three-point percentage. The defense has had many visible impacts.

Cambage has anchored and controlled the paint for most of the season, which is evident by her career-best 90.8 defensive rating. She’s blocking 3.3 shots per 100 possessions and deterring attempts at the rim when nearby. What’s not as glamorous as the highlight-worthy shot-blocking is the four quarters of individual work that Riquna Williams and Jackie Young have put into their matchups. They’re two of the better and more underrated defenders in the league and have eliminated some of the WNBA’s best scorers this season, holding Arike Ogunbowale to an average of 10.5 points on 6/31 shooting through two games and Kelsey Mitchell to 11.5 on 7/30 shots.






As the Aces have blown the doors off of its inferior opponents, they have also registered some impressive wins against some of the upper-echelon teams of the WNBA. Vegas has taken two of three games from the defending champion Seattle Storm after being swept by them in last season’s Finals. What’s contrasted from the lopsided matchup from the

Mid-Season Review
Photo Credit: Las Vegas Aces

Finals is the available talent that the Aces have been able to utilize this season. Kelsey Plum, Chelsea Gray, and Riquna Williams have all tallied double figures in both wins over Seattle, with Liz Cambage doing the same in one win — all four women were absent from the Aces squad last season (injuries, health risks, and with other teams).

Not to be overshadowed is the amazing accomplishments that the Aces’ players are enjoying outside of Las Vegas. Kelsey Plum and Jackie Young recently won a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics as members of the inaugural USA 3×3 Women’s National Team after defeating Russia 18-15. Meanwhile, A’ja Wilson and Chelsea Gray are in the midst of a gold medal hunt for the USA’s 5×5 team as Ji-Su Park represents Korea.





Mid-Season Review
Photo Credit: Las Vegas Aces

While Las Vegas has experienced success against the top team in the league, they have left a lot to be desired when competing against the other championship-contending teams. Their record could easily be 17-4 rather than 15-6, but the Aces have a combined 0-4 record against the Minnesota Lynx and Connecticut Sun, who are the two teams on the heels of eclipsing

them for second place. The discouraging thing about these losses is that each game was winnable, but Vegas was outscored by a total of 27 points in the third quarter of those four games while squandering two halftime leads. Needless to say, each of the losses was, in fact, winnable, but the Aces could not figure out how to pull out a win. They’ll need to figure some things out as Vegas will likely have to overcome either of the two teams en route to a WNBA championship.




The Olympic break certainly came at the right time for this Aces team that had limped into the intermission, losing two of its last three games. This pause in the schedule should allow for some players to regroup and refresh their minds and bodies, while the team’s Olympic competitors might also be benefitting from a change of scenery. But while we are at this “halfway point,” so to speak, it’s important to note the significance of the remaining games. Just about a month remains in the regular season, and each team has played somewhere between 18 and 21 of its scheduled 32 regular-season games, meaning that each team has around 11-14 remaining. The Aces have done well to put themselves in a position to compete for the double-bye but don’t have much wiggle room before slipping into a first-round game. 


The last few weeks of the season will be a tightly-contested race between contenders that should set the scene for what should be a fantastic postseason.



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-Cole Huff– Franchise Sports Media

Follow Cole on Twitter @ColeHoops

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