Video Credit: WNBA

FSM Essential Recap: Aces vs. Dream – Game 25

Franchise Sports Media

Las Vegas Aces (18-7) | Atlanta Dream (6-19)



The Las Vegas Aces looked to bounce back on Thursday from a 14-point loss to the Connecticut Sun, dropping them from the top seed in the WNBA. They responded by beating the Atlanta Dream 78-71, enabling Angel McCoughtry to make a late-game appearance in the city that she spent the majority of her career in.




Aces vs Dream
Photo Credit: WNBA

A’ja Wilson converted on two shot attempts to begin the game, tallying more makes over the first minute of play than she had in total during Tuesday night’s loss to the Sun. Not to be outdone, the Dream’s Tiffany Hayes also got off to a nice start from the field after going scoreless in the prior game. The offensive punches thrown by each team’s leading scorers had a trickle-down effect on the rest of the roster as both squads combined for a 12/21 start. The benches entered and followed suit. Dearica Hamby, in her hometown, was particularly active in the early going — getting into passing lanes on defense while being a physical presence on the offensive interior. But the Aces missed seven of their last eight shots of the quarter, opening the door for Aari McDonald and the Atlanta second-unit to take a two-point lead into the second quarter. 

Las Vegas opened the quarter with a nice high-low action that saw Wilson feed Hamby for an easy layup. Again operating from the elbow, Wilson found a cutting Jackie Young under the rim to give the Aces a 31-27 lead. Atlanta kept things close, though, thanks in large part to Monique Billings. She reeled off seven straight points for the Dream before Tiffany Hayes’ two made free throws put Atlanta back on top. From there, Atlanta kept their foot on the gas. A string of defensive stops and physical offense forced the Aces into fouls and kept the game’s flow very choppy. Shekinna Stricklen’s three-pointer in the half’s closing moments capped a 16-5 Atlanta run to give them a 48-40 edge at the break.

Aces vs Dream
Photo Credit: Las Vegas Aces

Like the beginning of the second quarter, A’ja Wilson executed a beautiful high-low pass on the team’s first possession — this time for a Liz Cambage basket. The Aces’ defense ramped up, but Courtney Williams rebounded a wild airball and scored an uncontested middy. Stricklen nailed her third three of the half, and suddenly, Atlanta regained an eight-point lead with some momentum. Vegas tightened up the defense from that point and went on a 12-5 run to end the quarter, a stretch that saw the Aces flying up and down the court in transition for easy baskets. Elizabeth Williams stopped the bleeding as her quarter-ending mid-range jumper put Atlanta up one point after three quarters.

Two early makes from the reigning MVP nodded the score at 65, but Tiffany Hayes responded with a short floater to keep Atlanta out in front. Hayes’ basket would be one of the final noteworthy plays for the Dream as they managed to score just four more points over the final seven minutes of the game. It was all Dearica Hamby, Liz Cambage, and A’ja Wilson down the stretch, and the Aces escaped Atlanta with a 78-71 victory over the Dream.



Protecting the Glass – Atlanta came into this game as the league’s best offensive rebounding team but secured fewer than half their season’s average against the Aces. Clearly, that was a point of emphasis for Vegas coming into the game, and they did a great job of not allowing extra scoring opportunities.

Ball Security – The Aces had quietly been turning the ball over at a higher clip than usual over the past few games, which could be a result of finding their rhythm as a unit following the Olympic break. But they were less carefree against Atlanta on Thursday night, only turning the ball over ten times.



Battle of the Benches – It’s hard to say that Atlanta outplayed the Aces’ bench if you base it off the boxscore. Vegas outrebounded Atlanta and scored the same amount of points, but those numbers are skewed by Dearica Hamby’s 20-point, 9-rebound performance. No other player made an impact off the bench for Vegas, and that’s not going to fly against the better teams in the league.



The Aces will conclude their three-game roadtrip on Saturday, August 28th when they take on the Indiana Fever. Tune into NBATV at 10:00 a.m. PST to follow the action live, and remember to check back for the next recap.

Aces vs Dream         Aces vs Dream         Aces vs Dream         Aces vs Dream         Aces vs Dream         Aces vs Dream         Aces vs Dream              

-Cole Huff– Franchise Sports Media

Follow Cole on Twitter @ColeHoops

Follow The Franchise on social media