Video Credit: WNBA

FSM Essential Recap: Aces vs. Mystics – Game 22

Franchise Sports Media

Las Vegas Aces (16-6) | Washington Mystics (8-11)



The Las Vegas Aces made their way back to the court for the first time since July 11th to face the Washington Mystics, whom they’ll face once again on Tuesday night.




Aces vs Mystics
Photo Credit: Las Vegas Aces

With rust figured to play a factor in the early going, it indeed came to fruition as the Aces opened up the game with two turnovers in their first three possessions. Eventually, they settled in, and the first basket belonged to Liz Cambage, with Jackie Young following with a mid-range jumper to pull Vegas out of the mud. On the other end, the Mystics used three three-pointers to build an early 13-8 lead, with stretch bigs — Myisha Hines-Allen and Tina Charles — continuing to be the Aces’ kryptonite. When the threes stopped dropping for Washington, they reverted to attacking the paint, where Hines-Allen and Sydney Wiese helped grow the lead to double digits. A drive-and-dish layup gave the Mystics a 27-15 lead going into the second frame.

Picking up where she left off in the opening quarter, Hines-Allen began the quarter with a right-handed driving layup, followed by a Tina Charles triple to give Washington a 14-point cushion. Fortunately for Las Vegas, they began to find their offensive rhythm to keep the game within arms reach. Kelsey Plum, specifically, gave the Aces a boost from both beyond and inside the arc. But another Charles three-pointer and consecutive Ariel Atkins jumpers expanded the lead to 19. Bill Laimbeer burned a timeout in disgust as Tina Charles sunk her fourth three of the half to make the score 50-31 with just over two minutes to go in the half. Jackie Young and A’ja Wilson finished the quarter with a mini 4-0 run to cut the deficit to 15 going into the break.

Aces vs Mystics
Photo Credit: WNBA

A’ja Wilson’s three-point play out of the half trimmed the deficit to 12 points, but a string of turnovers and missed shots led to uncontested Washington baskets — giving the Mystics a 60-40 lead. The margin hung around 20 points for most of the quarter as the Aces’ offense never got comfortable. Liz Cambage was bothered by foul trouble, A’ja Wilson was swarmed with every touch, Chelsea Gray couldn’t find room to operate out of the pick-and-roll, and Vegas’ offense couldn’t get into a flow. Yet, the Aces’ encouraging end to the quarter — by way of the free-throw line mostly — cut a 21-point deficit to 14 by quarter’s end.

Three quick baskets by Cambage and a fourth from Dearica Hamby gave the Aces a six-point deficit. Out of a timeout, Atkins downed a three to end the Aces’ 8-0 run and momentarily quiet the crowd at Michelob Ultra Arena. After baskets were exchanged back and forth for the better part of the next few minutes, Wilson sank two free throws to bring cut the lead to four points, where the game would hover around for a while. Atkins continued to bail Washington out by sinking some smooth-looking contested left-handed jumpers, but back-to-back Wilson layups brought the game to 81-77 with 1:50 remaining. After an Ariel Atkins miss, Kelsey Plum pushed in transition and found Jackie Young, who dribbled into an and-one jumper from the free-throw line. Natasha Cloud answered on the other end with an and-one of her own but failed to convert the free-throw, keeping it a three-point game with 38 seconds to go. A’ja Wilson knocked down a middy to make it a one-point game before forcing a Hines-Allen travel on the ensuing possession — setting the table for Chelsea Gray to nail the go-ahead bucket with four seconds to go to give Vegas an 84-83 win.



Defending Without Fouling – Maybe it was due to Washington’s obsession with shooting the three and playing from the perimeter, but the Aces did a great job limiting the Mystics’ free-throws. Washington shot just 7-9 for the night. Natasha Cloud earned a rare trip to the line late in the game but missed a crucial free throw, which was ultimately the difference in the game.

Late-Game Execution – The Aces found their way offensively about mid-way through the third quarter. Liz’s dominance is what eventually paved the way for Vegas to run their late-game sets, which included consecutive possessions of the Gray-Wilson pick-and-roll. It resulted in scores both times and led the Aces to victory.



Defending the Three-Pointer – Stop me if you heard this before: the Las Vegas struggled to defend a floor-spacing big. This time, it was a combination of Tina Charles and Myisha Hines-Allen, who combined to make six threes in the first half alone. The bigs were constantly open with enough time to line up their shots, whether it was poor pick-and-roll coverages on the Aces’ behalf or just great offensive execution on the Mystics’ side. Coach Laimbeer and the staff eventually adjusted, and the Mystics cooled off, but avoiding those barrages will be critical going forward.


The Aces will face the Washington Mystics again on Tuesday, August 17th at Michelob Ultra Arena. Tune into CBS Sports Network at 7:00 p.m. PST to follow the action live, and make sure to catch the next recap here at Franchise Sports Media.

Aces vs Mystics           Aces vs Mystics           Aces vs Mystics           Aces vs Mystics           Aces vs Mystics           Aces vs Mystics           Aces vs Mystics           Aces vs Mystics           Aces vs Mystics                                            

-Cole Huff– Franchise Sports Media

Follow Cole on Twitter @ColeHoops

Follow The Franchise on social media