August 4, 2020
How the Aces beat Dallas
With Lindsay Allen back, where does Las Vegas go from here?
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It wasn’t their finest work, but the Las Vegas Aces improved to 2-2 on the season with a 79-70 victory over the Dallas Wings on Sunday. The Aces got plenty of help as the Wings shot just 4-for-30 on 3-pointers. Las Vegas turned it over 18 times, including 11 in the first half, and Dallas was plus-seven on the offensive glass through 20 minutes.
“Important win for us,” Aces head coach and president of basketball operations Bill Laimbeer said postgame. “Needed this win very badly. Quite frankly, we had a good chance to be 4-0. But we’re not. We’ll take the 2-2. I think, overall, our defense was solid. I was very disappointed in our turnovers in the first half and our rebounding the first half. We took care of that in the second half, especially the rebounding part.”
A’ja Wilson led the way with 19 points. Four teammates joined her in double figures, including Lindsay Allen, who was back with the team and in the starting lineup after missing Friday’s game after returning an inconclusive positive COVID-19 test result.
“I went away for a little bit, less than 48 hours,” Allen said Sunday. “I just stayed in my hotel room the whole time, ordered Uber Eats, all that good stuff, and that was it.”
On the NBA side, the Sacramento Kings encountered a similar situation last week with one player returning an inconclusive test result. In both cases, the player was able to return after returning two consecutive negative tests. According to an ESPN report on Monday, with the postseason in mind, the NBA has “tightened” its protocol, allowing players to return within a 24-hour window rather than 48.
Danielle Robinson slid back into the backup point guard spot with Allen back in action. Jackie Young and Dearica Hamby continued to soak up most of all remaining bench minutes; Sugar Rodgers had two turnovers and missed her lone shot attempt in seven minutes. Angel McCoughtry played just 15 minutes, and Laimbeer mentioned postgame that she was dealing with “a little bit of a banged-up knee”.
Wilson scored on two of her first three touches to start the game, and Allen got all the way to the rim for a layup coming off a Wilson screen. Kayla McBride added a 3-pointer in transition to put Dallas in an early 9-0 hole. Clinging to a five-point lead at halftime, the Aces opened the third with an 8-2 spurt and held a double-digit lead for most of the second half.
Laimbeer was asked postgame about recent signee Cierra Burdick. The Aces announced the signing on Friday. The 6’2” forward, who played for Laimbeer in 2017 with the Liberty, was brought on give Las Vegas some depth at both forward spots.
“Another energy player off the bench,” Laimbeer said of Burdick’s game. “She never stops. She moves, she moves, she’s got a decent long-range shot, and she’s not afraid. That’s the biggest part about her. She’s not afraid. Not in the league, but when she gets her opportunity, she makes the most of it. That’s what I anticipate off the bench. She can guard the 3 or the 4, especially with a group like this tonight where they’re more perimeter players than not. I think she’s gonna fit right in. She’s a quality teammate and a fine basketball player.”