Aces face Dream after clinching playoff berth

National Sports

The Las Vegas Aces have clinched a spot in the WNBA playoffs.

The Dream are just looking to get one victory when the two teams meet Thursday in Atlanta.

The Aces (17-7) missed an opportunity to secure a playoff berth when they lost at Connecticut 76-62 on Tuesday, but they clinched a berth Wednesday when the Phoenix Mercury routed the host New York Liberty 106-79.

“The game plan from the coaches, we probably could have done better,” Las Vegas coach Bill Laimbeer said after his team’s loss Tuesday. “The players definitely need to execute better. … We’re not as bad as we showed.”

A’ja Wilson is better than she showed. The reigning league MVP scored just four points, her first single-digit scoring total after 53 games in double digits, and made just one of 15 field-goal attempts. The Aces committed 14 turnovers, which led to 26 points for the Sun, who completed a three-game sweep of the season series.

“We struggled with the same thing we struggled with in the first two games — taking care of the basketball,” said Dearica Hamby, who scored 13 points. “We’ll see them in the playoffs.”

The Dream (6-18) don’t figure to be seeing anybody in the playoffs after losing nine straight games and 12 of their past 13. Their most recent loss was an 86-79 defeat against the visiting Chicago Sky on Tuesday.

Odyssey Sims led Atlanta with 17 points and All-Star Courtney Williams had 16 points.

“It’s definitely hard. I mean, it’s a lot,” Tiffany Hayes, the Dream’s second-leading scorer (14.9 points per game), said of the losing stretch. “It’s been a lot for us and that’s really hard to go through.

“We’ve been taking it a day at a time. We’re really trying to hone in and make things better and turn things around for this organization, and it’s going to have to take every single one of us to do that. But I think everybody here who is in practices every day is really focused on doing that, so we’re headed in the right direction.”

–Field Level Media

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