(Dearica Hamby photo courtesy Ethan Miler/Getty Images)
The Las Vegas Aces look to beat the Dallas Wings for the second time in five days Saturday night when the scene shifts to the Lone Star State.
The Aces (14-7) had a three-game winning streak snapped with a 76-68 loss at Los Angeles on Thursday night. Kayla McBride scored 19 points and Dearica Hamby added 11 and 11 rebounds for Las Vegas, but Liz Cambage was held to nine and five, respectively, as she was limited to 25 minutes due to foul trouble.
Las Vegas did rally from an 11-point first-half deficit and led by as many as six in the second half, but poor execution down the stretch plagued the Aces as they scored just four points in the final 5:10.
“I wanted to see less turnovers. I wanted to see shots going in,” coach Bill Laimbeer told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “We got good looks. We didn’t make them. We need to be more concentrated, and we need to make big shots in big games. We didn’t get that done today.”
After 50 straight scoring in double figures, Cambage has been held to 15 points combined in her last two contests. The All-Star and ex-Wings center, who forced a trade to the Aces in the offseason, had her worst offensive game of the season in Monday’s 86-54 rout of Dallas as she finished with six points on 1-of-12 shooting.
Fellow All-Star and forward A’ja Wilson is expected to miss her fifth straight game with a sprained ankle. Hamby has recorded back-to-back double-doubles and averaged 16.8 points and 9.5 rebounds in the four games she has started replacing Wilson.
Dallas (6-15) snapped a season-worst six-game losing streak in emphatic fashion Thursday night, thrashing the New York Liberty 87-64. Rookie Arike Ogunbowale scored 22 points while Megan Gustafson matched career highs of 11 points and eight rebounds set in Monday’s loss.
Ogunbowale leads all WNBA rookies in scoring at 14.6 points per game but is shooting only 34.9 percent as she has been the focal point of opposing defenses. Her play has fostered debate over whether she or Minnesota Lynx All-Star Napheesa Collier – the WNBA Rookie of the Month for July – should be considered the frontrunner for the award for the season.
“I don’t really study the stats,” coach Brian Agler told the Dallas Morning News when asked to compare the two. “Napheesa is obviously having a good year as well. They’re different players and she’s come in and done some good things at Minnesota. But I do know this. With everything that’s been thrown at Arike and everything that’s been placed on her shoulders with this team and how she’s handled that has been very impressive from my vantage point.”
Ogunbowale shot 5 of 12 and finished with 14 points in Monday’s loss to Las Vegas but was a more efficient 7 for 12 against the Liberty. The fifth overall pick had a season-high 25 in the first meeting against the Aces, but needed 26 shots as Las Vegas cruised to an 86-68 victory June 22.