Surging Aces have won 5 straight, sit atop power poll
By Doug Feinberg
AP Basketball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — Kayla McBride’s eyes light up when talking about the Las Vegas offense.
With the addition of 6-foot-8 Liz Cambage in the offseason to join 6-5 A’ja Wilson in the Aces’ frontcourt, her life on the court as a shooter has gotten much easier.
“Liz and A’ja command so much attention that I’m getting a lot of good looks,” McBride said. “We have so many weapons that it makes it tough for defenses to stop us.”
McBride has helped the Aces average 80 points a game — third best in the league. She’s averaging 15.4 points while shooting a career-best 48% from the field, including 46.8 from behind the 3-point line.
Las Vegas has won five straight games and vaulted to the top of the WNBA standings. The team also has moved to No. 1 in the power poll for the first time in franchise history.
A look at this week’s WNBA poll:
1. Las Vegas (11-5): The Aces swept a three-game road trip, winning two close games. They head out to Seattle Friday before finishing off the first part of season with two home games.
2. Connecticut (11-6): After hitting a rut, the Sun have won their last two games and host two games before the All-Star break. Connecticut is 7-1 at home this season.
3. Washington (9-6): Elena Delle Donne has been out with a broken nose and the Mystics have struggled, dropping three straight. Washington hopes the All-Star captain will be back soon.
4. Minnesota (10-7): The Lynx have been playing stellar defense all season, second best in the league allowing 73.3 points a game.
5. Los Angeles (9-7): With Candace Parker sidelined with an ankle injury, the Ogwumike sisters have picked up the scoring load for the Sparks.
6. Seattle (10-8): After a couple of days off, the rejuvenated Storm returned to action and dominated opponents. The Storm finished off their home stretch with easy wins over Dallas and New York.
7. Chicago (9-8): The Sky cap off first part of season with home games against Indiana and Atlanta.
8. Phoenix (7-8): Diana Taurasi played her first game of the season in Connecticut after missing the Mercury’s first 13 contests with a back injury. It was short-lived return as she missed Phoenix’s next game though and her status is unclear.
9. New York (7-10): It was a disappointing road trip for the Liberty, who weren’t very competitive against either Chicago or Seattle.
10. Atlanta (5-11): The Dream had their modest two-game winning streak end in an overtime loss to Los Angeles. Coach Nicki Collen has the team playing better this month after a horrendous start to season.
11. Indiana (6-12): The Fever have lately fallen behind big in games only to see their reserves come in and make games competitive. But Indiana is still looking for one more win to eclipse last season’s total.
12. Dallas (5-11): Wings got a huge win over coach Brian Agler’s former Los Angeles team before falling to Seattle and Chicago.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Nneka Oguwmike earned player of the week honors after helping Los Angeles win two of its three games. She averaged 18 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.7 steals. Others receiving votes included Jordin Canada of Seattle, Sylvia Fowles of Minnesota, Jonquel Jones of Connecticut, Kayla McBride of Las Vegas and Elizabeth Williams of Atlanta.
Sylvia Fowles broke the league record for career double-doubles, surpassing Lisa Leslie’s mark of 157 in Minnesota’s win over Phoenix on Sunday. Fowles had 14 points and 13 rebounds in the 13-point win.
The WNBA All-Star has averaged a double-double in six seasons, including the previous two. She’s on pace to keep that streak going this year as she’s averaging 14.2 points and 10.1 rebounds.
YOU’RE AN ALL-STAR
Odyssey Sims, Erica Wheeler and Diamond DeShields were selected as All-Star reserves on Monday , marking the first time that each of them will be in the WNBA’s showcase game.
“It’s super special to me to have made All-Star,” said DeShields, who will be joined by teammates Allie Quigley and Courtney Vandersloot in Las Vegas for the game on July 27. “I work really hard to be in the position that I’m in, so I’m just going to take it all in and try to enjoy this moment with my other two teammates.”
Jordin Canada had a solid week averaging 12.7 points, 7 assists and 3.3 steals in the Storm’s two wins. She had 12 assists and no turnovers in the win over Dallas.
GAME OF THE WEEK
Lynx at Aces, Sunday. Cheryl Reeve has Minnesota playing with a lot of confidence and they might be one of the biggest surprises of the WNBA season considering only one of their starting five is the same as last season.