It has been two steps forward, one step back of late for the Las Vegas Aces, who look to bounce back from a loss Saturday night when they face an Indiana Fever team playing on the back end of consecutive nights.
The Aces (6-5) have won four of their last six games but were denied three-game winning streaks in both instances in suffering their two defeats. Liz Cambage was 9 of 12 from the field and finished with 18 points and nine rebounds, but Las Vegas’ backcourt could not hold up its end of the deal offensively as guards Kayla McBride, Kelsey Plum, and Jackie Young teamed up for just 17 points on 5-of-28 shooting.
“We’re still trying to figure out each other on the offensive end,” McBride told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “I believe in every one of my teammates, and I know they’ll bounce back.”
Turnovers continue to be a problem for Las Vegas, which ranks 11th in the 12-team league in turnovers at 16.8 per game after committing 19 on Thursday night. That carelessness has offset an offense that ranks second in the WNBA with 20.3 assists per game and 80.3 points per contest.
“You have to play great every single night. We’re in the league where every player is elite. … That’s the beauty of our league,” Aces forward A’ja Wilson said. “Every single night, you have to be on your A-game. There’s no plays off, there’s no games off, or you’ll get beat. It’s just as simple as that.”
Cambage has scored in double figures in all 10 games she has played, but her averages of 14.7 points and 7.2 rebounds are well off her 2018 totals that included a league-leading 23.0 points per game and 9.7 boards per contest that ranked second.
The Fever (5-8) are trying to salvage a split of this two-game swing out west after losing 91-69 at Phoenix on Friday night, their worst defeat of the season. Candice Dupree scored 15 points and Kelsey Mitchell added 13 for Indiana, which was overwhelmed by a 33-point second-quarter by the Mercury and lost their third straight game trying to match their win total for all of last season.
This back-to-back figures to be particularly challenging for rookie center Teaira McCowan, who goes from guarding Mercury center Brittney Griner – who finished with 23 points on 11-of-19 shooting — to facing the 2018 WNBA MVP runner-up in Cambage. McCowan, the third overall pick in the draft, finished with six points and 10 rebounds and has averaged 9.4 points and 11.6 rebounds in her last five games.
Las Vegas swept the season series in 2018, winning all three games by a combined 41 points while averaging 93.7 points. Playing for the Dallas Wings, Cambage averaged 25.7 points and 8.3 rebounds in three games against Indiana, highlighted by a 37-point, 9-rebound effort in an 84-78 loss Aug. 2.
(A’ja Wilson photo courtesy Las Vegas Aces official Twitter account)