Hammon has Aces off to sizzling start on offense

May 23, 2022, 10:43 PM | Updated: May 24, 2022, 10:46 am
Las Vegas Aces forward Theresa Plaisance (55), forward Dearica Hamby (5) and forward A'ja Wilson, r...

Las Vegas Aces forward Theresa Plaisance (55), forward Dearica Hamby (5) and forward A'ja Wilson, right, celebrate after winning a WNBA basketball game against the Phoenix Mercury, Saturday, May 21, 2022, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Ellen Schmidt)

(AP Photo/Ellen Schmidt)

              Las Vegas Aces guard Kelsey Plum, center, drives around Phoenix Mercury center Tina Charles (31) during the first half of a WNBA basketball game, Saturday, May 21, 2022, in Las Vegas. Mercury guard Diamond DeShields, right, looks on. (AP Photo/Ellen Schmidt)
              Phoenix Mercury center Tina Charles (31) looks to pass while Las Vegas Aces forward A'ja Wilson (22) guards during the second half of a WNBA basketball game, Saturday, May 21, 2022, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Ellen Schmidt)
              Las Vegas Aces forward Theresa Plaisance (55), forward Dearica Hamby (5) and forward A'ja Wilson, right, celebrate after winning a WNBA basketball game against the Phoenix Mercury, Saturday, May 21, 2022, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Ellen Schmidt)

Becky Hammon vowed before the season tipped off that the Las Vegas Aces would be shooting more 3-poitners this year.

It was a safe declaration to make when she was hired considering the team has been last in the league in attempts since moving to Las Vegas from San Antonio in 2018. The Aces averaged just 13.5 attempts last season.

But Hammon’s squad hasn’t just surpassed low expectations, they’re second in the league averaging nearly 26 3-pointers a game. They tied the WNBA record with 18 made 3s in Monday night’s rout of Los Angeles.

“Basketball is a game of confidence,” Hammon said after the win. “You see one or two go in the basket, people get rolling … it becomes real fun as an offensive player, especially when you know your teammates are going to find you when you’re open.”

The Aces made 162 3s all of last season. This year they’ve already made 85.

Las Vegas is leading the league in scoring at 93.3 points a game and has topped 100 points in three of the team’s first eight games.

“It just seems like it’s a breath of fresh air for all of us,” said Las Vegas star A’ja Wilson, who hit two 3-pointers in Monday’s win. “I would definitely say we’re having fun.”

The Aces sit atop the league standings and The Associated Press WNBA power poll with a 7-1 record.


This week’s WNBA poll:

1. Las Vegas (7-1): All five starters are averaging in double figures in scoring which makes the Aces even more difficult to guard.

2. Connecticut (4-1): After a season-opening loss the Sun have won four straight games. Connecticut did lose guard Jasmine Thomas to a knee injury in the team’s victory over Indiana. The team announced she’s out for the season with a torn ACL. Connecticut has a busy week ahead with two games against Dallas and one against Washington.

3. Washington (5-2): No. 3 overall draft pick Shakira Austin has been a strong addition to the Mystics. She’s averaging 9.9 points and 5.9 rebounds while shooting nearly 64% from the field this season.

4. Chicago (3-2): The Sky welcomed back WNBA Finals MVP Kahleah Copper after she completed a stellar overseas season. Now that the team is “whole” again according to coach James Wade, the Sky will look to string some wins together.

5. Dallas (4-2): The Wings have gotten a solid start to the season from guard Marina Mabrey. She’s averaging 15.8 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists and is been a nice compliment to Arike Ogunbowale.

6.. Seattle (3-3): Former league MVP Breanna Stewart returned from a positive COVID-19 test and the Storm won both their games. Seattle will look to keep it rolling with two games against New York this week.

7. Atlanta (4-2): The Dream have gotten off to a strong start behind No. 1 pick Rhyne Howard. The schedule gets a little more challenging with a road game in Washington before the team hosts Phoenix. Atlanta could get a boost from Tiffany Hayes, who has been resting since returning from her overseas commitment.

8. Phoenix (2-4): The schedule hasn’t been kind to the Mercury with three of their first six games against the Las Vegas Aces. Phoenix has missed guard Skylar Diggins-Smith the last two games with a non-COVID-19 illness. In the last game she played, the veteran guard had words on the bench with Diana Taurasi and the two had to be separated.

9. Los Angeles (2-5): The Sparks have a busy stretch with three games in the next six days. After losing at Las Vegas Monday night, Los Angeles travels to Indiana and Minnesota after a home game against Phoenix on Wednesday.

10. Minnesota (1-6): The Lynx will get forward Natalie Achonwa back after she was cleared to return from a right hamstring injury she suffered on May 8. Minnesota has two home games this week and will honor former Lynx great Seimone Augustus on Sunday when L.A. comes to town. Augustus is an assistant coach for the Sparks.

11. Indiana (2-6): The Fever have dropped four straight games and have missed No. 2 pick NaLyssa Smith, who has been sidelined with an ankle injury for the past three contests. She’s averaging 13 points and 10 rebounds a game.

12. New York (1-4): A week of practice could help the Liberty as they begin a three-game road trip in Minnesota on Tuesday. New York has been plagued by injuries and signed 2020 Rookie of the Year Crystal Dangerfield to a hardship deal. Her first game is against her former team the Lynx. New York will be without Betnijay Laney (right knee), Jocelyn Willoughby (left quadricep tendon), DiDi Richards (right hamstring), Lorela Cubaj (concussion).


Jackie Young of Las Vegas was voted the AP Player of the Week after averaging 20.8 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4 assists to help the Aces go 4-0. Alyssa Thomas of Connecticut and Arike Ogunbowale of Dallas also received votes.


Candace Parker of Chicago became the third player in WNBA history with twi triple-doubles in her career. Parker had 16 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists — the last to Courtney Vandersloot who also has accomplished the feat — in a win over Washington on Sunday. The triple-double by Parker was the 12th in league history and at 36 years of age she is the oldest player to do it. Sheryl Swoopes, who also has two triple-doubles, got her second at 34.

“To be in the company with Sloot, who does it on a regular basis and will probably end her career leading the league in assists, and Sheryl Swoopes, who I grew up watching and idolizing, I’m humbled by it,” Parker said. “I realize that there are more that are coming behind me. I hope that coaches are watching, that the point forward is where it’s at.”


Aces at Sky, Saturday. Two of the top teams in the league will meet on national television in Chicago. The Sky will look to slow down the league’s top offense.


More AP women’s basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Qatar hires coach Carlos Queiroz through the 2026 World Cup

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Former Portugal and Iran coach Carlos Queiroz has worked at the last four World Cups and was hired on Monday by Qatar to aim for a fifth straight at the next edition hosted in North America. The Qatar Football Association hired former Real Madrid coach Queiroz until 2026 to take charge […]
2 days ago
Utah Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen (23) and Charlotte Hornets guard Dennis Smith Jr. (8) battle for ...
Associated Press

Jazz owner aims to showcase Utah with NBA All-Star Game

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — When the NBA All-Star Game returns to Salt Lake City for the first time in three decades, Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith anticipates the event will help build Utah into a destination for other major sporting events. “All the lights will be on us, but I think it is one […]
2 days ago
FILE - In this Sept. 8, 2019, file photo, former NFL official Mike Pereira walks across the field b...
Associated Press

Fox’s Pereira knows pressure Super Bowl officials are facing

Mike Pereira knows the pressure Carl Cheffers and his officiating crew will be under during Super Bowl 57 between the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles. That’s because he either hired or promoted most of them. As the NFL’s vice president of officiating in 2008, Pereira promoted Cheffers from side judge to referee. After 14 […]
2 days ago
FILE - Chelsea's Pedro, left, and Newcastle United's Christian Atsu vie for the ball during the Eng...
Associated Press

Former Chelsea forward Atsu missing after Turkey earthquake

Former Chelsea and Newcastle forward Christian Atsu is missing and believed to be trapped under rubble following the powerful earthquake that struck Turkey on Monday and left more than 2,500 people dead. The Ghana international, who plays for Turkish club Hatayspor, is thought to be in a building that was destroyed, Hatayspor spokesman Mustafa Özat […]
2 days ago
FILE - Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, right, walks back to the bench as head coach Darvin...
Associated Press

LeBron’s Los Angeles era, as told by coach Darvin Ham

(Editors’ Note: Darvin Ham is in his first season as coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. He was a longtime NBA assistant coach and as a player helped the Detroit Pistons win the NBA title in 2004.) When I got hired to coach the Los Angeles Lakers, one of the first things that I saw […]
2 days ago
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady stands on the field before an NFL football game against ...
Associated Press

Brady will not move into Fox announcing booth until 2024

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Tom Brady will not go immediately from the playing field to the broadcast booth. Brady told Colin Cowherd during Monday’s episode of “The Herd” on FS1 and Fox Sports Radio that he will not start his broadcasting career with Fox until the 2024 season. The seven-time Super Bowl champion — who […]
2 days ago
Hammon has Aces off to sizzling start on offense