Aces Outlast Dream, 94-90, to Move into Tie for Second Place
LAS VEGAS NV - Atlanta put a scare into the Aces Tuesday evening, erasing a 13-pooint first quarter Las Vegas lead, but the Aces dominated the beginning of the fourth quarter en route to a 94-90 victory. The win moves the Las Vegas (17-9) into a tie with Connecticut (16-8) for second place, just one game back of front-running Washington.
Liz Cambage scored the first six points of the game, as the Aces raced out to a 15-4 lead.
Las Vegas still led 25-12, but Atlanta scored 16 of the next 18 points to take the lead early in the second quarter, 28-27.
The Aces trailed 75-70 at the end of the third quarter, but scored 17 of the next 20 points to go up 87-78 with 4:40 remaining in the game.
Atlanta went 9 for 30 from long distance while the Aces went 9 for 15.
The Aces outscored the Dream 36-20 in points in the paint.
Las Vegas made 25 of 32 free throws compared to 17 for 21 for Atlanta.
The Dream bench outscored the Aces bench 36-6.
The Aces were without the services of A'ja Wilson for the eighth straight game. They are 6-2 in those games.
Liz Cambage scored in double figures for the 22nd game this season (18 points). She added 10 rebounds for her 9th double-double of the season.
Dearica Hamby scored in double figures for the 15th game this season (23 points). She added a season-high 16 rebounds for her 7th double-double of the season.
Jackie Young scored in double figures for the fourth straight game and the sixth time this season (17 points).
Kayla McBride scored in double figures for the 21st time this season, and 20 or more points for the seventh time (21 points)
Marie Gülich posted her first career double-double with a career-high 15 points and 12 rebounds.
She earned 12 of her career-high 15 points (previous: 9 at Washington, 6/1/19) in the first half alone.
She also set career-high records with five made field goals, three made free throws, four attempted free throws, two made three-pointers, three attempted free throws, and eight defensive rebounds.
She tied her career-high records of four offensive rebounds, two assists and two blocks.
Atlanta scored a season-high 49 points in the first half (previous: 46 at Chicago, 7/17) and 26 points in the third quarter (previous: 24, three times).
The Dream had five players score in double digits for the second time this season (last: at Connecticut 6/21).
Jessica Breland led the team in scoring for the second time this season (last: 17 points vs. Dallas, 5/24). She tied her season-high record of eight made field goals for the third time.
The Aces hit the road this weekend for a Sunday, August 8 game at Chicago. Tip is slated for 3 pm PT.
Bill Laimbeer Quotes
Every game in this league is tough. That's the number two seed from last year, they are struggling this year but they have a lot of quality players. They had a solid game. We jumped them at the start but let them back in the game. Our bench players didn't play with the intensity which let them get back in the game and they got some confidence and momentum and we were in a dog fight the rest of the way. We want easy games but none of them are easy. I thought we had a lot of good performances. Hamby had a solid game and so did Liz. That is what I expect from Jackie Young in the future. 17, 5, and 4. She is learning. She is learning what she can do in this league. Once she understands it that is a quality player for us and it adds to our Arsenal. I think every body in our starting lineup contributed. Our bench I didn't give many minutes because we were in a dog fight and I had to trust our starters but we got the win.
On any struggles within 2nd and 3rd Quarters that may have caused struggle...
No I think our bench didn't respond. Bad shot, turnover, no defense, let them back in the game. The rest of the game was just see sawing back and forth. We had to find a way to score and we did because they were shooting well. Normally our defense we are in the 30 percentile but they were in the 40's. They made a bunch of three balls that kept them in the game, we put them to the free throw line which we cant do. All the things we talked about before the game, we didn't do and that's what gave them a chance to win the game.
On Carolyn Sword's role down the stretch...
It depends on the rotations. Sometime when A'ja comes back we are going to have a fine rotation. Swords would get less minutes but at the same time I trust her immensely because she's a professional basketball player. She is always ready to play. She is very solid, her teammates trust her and I thought there was some key points in the game when it was see sawing that before I get Liz back in the game she made a couple big buckets.
On team's performance without A'ja...
I think our starters know each other really well. The starting 5 plus Hamby, rolling with the bigs, we know what we are going to do, when we are going to set screens, the timing of when to feed Liz. We are growing in that regard and I know we can grow more but I'm comfortable with our starting 5 in knowing each other.
Q. What changed in the fourth quarter for you all?
"Our toughness and our effort was just a little bit better in the fourth. We went in tied, or up two or down two, we talked about just getting three shots in a row and making it hard for them to make theirs. We wanted to just remain tough and resilient. It's really hard playing three games in six days and doing it repeatedly, it takes a lot of mental toughness and effort and togetherness and I thought we showed that tonight."
Q. How do you show that sisterhood you have through Dearica's current loss in the family?
"Dearica showed more strength out there tonight than anybody else, I think she played the whole second half. When something like that carries something like that and just to put the team first it just shows who she is and who she wants to be for this team. We love her no matter what and it doesn't surprise me at all. That's who we are, that's who we have grown to be. I would say that we like each other too much, but we're able to hold each other accountable and have that love in the locker room. That's what you see on the floor, there is a lot of intensity and loyalty and a lot of emotions. When you have that comradery that is built inside the locker room everything else becomes a little easier."
Q. Do you feel comfortable with as many scorers that are on this team to be able to contribute?
"Yeah I think it's just playing hard each possession really that's where I get my teammates involved. As the games have gone on, I get a little more comfortable and put in a lot more work that whenever the games come I'm just able to play comfortable and relaxed out there."
Atlanta Dream Head Coach Nicki Collen
Coach Nicki Collen on playing well tonight...
"I think a lot of it tonight came down to Jessica Breland and Marie Gulich making perimeter shots, it created great spacing for us. When you force Liz Cambage away from the basket, you're going to get good shots because you get a cleaner lane, so all of a sudden anything you run, you're going to get good shots and it just comes down to whether you make it or miss it. Quite frankly, that was a different team in the fourth quarter. A lot of it came down to our spacing and being able to really attack. The second quarter alone, we touched the paint 22 times and we were at around 1.2 points per possession over that stretch."
Coach Nicki Collen on improving the last two games...
"The last two games, we played much better offensively. We didn't walk away with wins, it's frustrating but today was a fun game to coach. I felt like anything that I diagramed, we got a good shot on. As a coach, that's all we can ask for if you get good shots you're going to make enough of them to be competitive."
Coach Nicki Collen on Marie Gulich's performance tonight...
"She went arguably against the best center in the world and got a couple of blocks. Marie showed tonight why we made the trade to get her. It wasn't just her knocking perimeter shots, she shot faked and drove and got a foul. She played on the baseline and got the inside out pass when she was driving baseline. When your post can pass, all of a sudden your offense floats so much better. I think she didn't back down, she hasn't backed down from anyone this season. It's a matter of having the confidence when she gets catches, I think making her first three was a huge confidence builder
Atlanta Dream Center Marie Gulich
Marie Gulich on tonight's performance...
"Today felt really good, the energy from the team was awesome. I have been struggling throughout the season so this game floats really good for me. My teammates have been very encouraging, I think this just gave me the confidence to finally play like I can play."
Marie Gulich on facing Liz Cambage tonight...
"I have a lot of respect for her and the way she plays and works. It's good for me to play against somebody like that and it keeps me motivated. I held my ground a little bit so that gives me confidence. I hope for the future that I get better with experience."
Marie Gulich on having less pressure at this point of the season...
"I dug myself in a hole at the beginning of the season by being in my head and not being sure of what to do, when I should score and not score. Now I'm getting in a better rhythm and I have to give the props to my teammates for being there for me, encouraging me, and believing in me."
• Discuss this story on the Women's National Basketball Association message board...
Women's National Basketball Association Stories from August 14, 2019
- Sun to Honor WNBA Legend Lindsay Whalen - Connecticut Sun
- Johnson to Miss Remainder of 2019 Season After Arthroscopic Surgery - Indiana Fever
- Aces Outlast Dream, 94-90, to Move into Tie for Second Place - Las Vegas Aces
The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.
Other Recent Las Vegas Aces Stories
- Carolyn Swords Announces Retirement, Joins Aces Front Office as Marketing Specialist
- Las Vegas Signs Russian National Team Forward/Center Raisa Musina to Training Camp Contract
- Kelsey Plum to Call No. 22 Arkansas at Florida Game on SEC Network, Sunday, February 23
- Las Vegas Re-Signs All-Star Guard Sugar Rodgers
- Kelsey Plum Named to USA Basketball 3x3 Olympic Qualifying Team