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Champ Aces lose 3 in row for 1st time since ’19

Natisha Hiedeman’s stuff denies Kelsey Plum (0:18) Natisha Hiedeman’s stuff denies Kelsey Plum (0:18) Michael Voepel, ESPN.comJun 12, 2024, 01:49 AM ET Close Michael Voepel covers the WNBA, women’s college basketball, and other college sports for espnW. Voepel began covering women’s basketball in 1984, and has been with ESPN since 1996. For the first time

Champ Aces lose 3 in row for 1st time since ’19

Natisha Hiedeman’s stuff denies Kelsey Plum (0:18)

Natisha Hiedeman’s stuff denies Kelsey Plum (0:18)

  • Michael Voepel, ESPN.comJun 12, 2024, 01:49 AM ET

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      Michael Voepel covers the WNBA, girls’s school basketball, and different school sports activities for espnW. Voepel started masking girls’s basketball in 1984, and has been with ESPN since 1996.

For the primary time since 2019, the Las Vegas Aces have misplaced three video games in a row. However the two-time defending champions stated they’re nonetheless betting on themselves to get again to top-tier standing within the WNBA, though they’re at the moment 5-5.

“This can be a lengthy, lengthy, lengthy season,” Aces star A’ja Wilson stated after Las Vegas 100-86 loss to the Minnesota Lynx on Tuesday. “I am not going to press the panic button. I am nonetheless going to guess on us. I do know precisely what’s in that locker room.”

The Aces had 4 gamers named to the U.S. Olympic 5×5 crew Tuesday: Wilson, Jackie Young, Kelsey Plum and Chelsea Gray. However Grey, who was injured within the WNBA Finals final 12 months, has but to play this season and her absence has been big. Younger was again within the lineup after lacking the Aces’ earlier sport with sickness, however she did not look one hundred pc.

The Aces as a crew have not seemed like themselves of late, having misplaced 4 of their final 5 video games. They misplaced at Atlanta on Could 31, got here again with a win at Dallas, however have misplaced to Seattle, Los Angeles and Minnesota since.

The final time Las Vegas misplaced three straight was Aug. 23-27, 2019, when Invoice Laimbeer was nonetheless head coach. That’s the second-longest span in WNBA historical past between single-season three-game shedding streaks — 143 video games — in accordance with Elias Sports activities Bureau. The longest such streak was by the Houston Comets — 224 video games — from the launch of the WNBA in 1997 to 2003.

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The Aces subsequent face Phoenix on Thursday, adopted by a rematch of final 12 months’s WNBA Finals groups as New York visits Las Vegas (ABC, 3 p.m. Saturday).

“It is not going to get simpler. It has by no means been simple for us,” stated Wilson, the Aces’ most constant participant, who had 28 factors and eight rebounds Tuesday. “We will proceed to be us, proceed to grind it out.”

Minnesota, now 9-3, had all 5 starters rating in double figures and shot 55.2% general from the sphere and even barely higher (55.6, 15 of 27) from 3-point vary. And that is what Plum pointed to.

“It is our protection,” she stated of what’s bothering the Aces most now. “That is what we have all the time hung our hat on. We have received [championships] the final two years due to protection.”

Aces coach Becky Hammon, in her third 12 months in Las Vegas, acknowledged that she has had some considerations because the season began about how the crew was enjoying.

“We’re a enjoyable group, however shedding sucks,” Hammon stated. “We all know one another properly, we have been by battles. The eye to element … I assumed we got here out and made some nice steps ahead offensively. After which we could not guard our lunch on the different finish.

“A few of that is self-inflicted. We have to learn to cease the bleeding. That is uncomfortable. No person likes it. But it surely may very well be among the best issues for us.

“I do not need them considering an excessive amount of; then you definitely get paralysis [by] evaluation. We’re simply not being strong in our base. Simply be strong defensively. We’re not an excellent crew proper now, that is simply actuality. However we all know we are able to get higher. I nonetheless have a whole lot of perception on this ballclub.”

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