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Aces put sharpshooting approach up against Mercury

Sportsnaut
Oct 2, 2020; Bradenton, Florida, USA; The shoes of Seattle Storm guard Jordin Canada (21) with the WNBA logo during game 1 of the WNBA finals against the Las Vegas Aces at IMG Academy. Mandatory Credit: Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports

The Las Vegas Aces will try to knock off the Phoenix Mercury for the second time this season when the teams play at Phoenix on Tuesday night.

The Aces opened the season with a 106-88 victory at Phoenix on May 6. Dearica Hamby scored 24 points for Las Vegas, which led by 22 at halftime and cruised to the easy win.

“They shot the lights out of the ball,” Mercury standout Skylar Diggins-Smith said, “so we were playing a lot in the half court and we didn’t make a lot of shots so they were in transition.”

The Aces (3-1) were 11 of 21 from 3-point range in the opener and have featured a long-distance shooting approach under first-year coach Becky Hammon.

Las Vegas is shooting a league-best 44.0 percent from beyond the arc and connected on a franchise-record 16 (in 35 attempts) Friday in a 96-73 road victory over the Atlanta Dream. The old mark was 14 against the Minnesota Lynx on May 30, 2014, when the team was located in San Antonio.

“It’s just about finding the paint and then making reads,” Hammon said, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “When we have people in the right spots, I feel like we have quality shooters that can knock them down.”

Kelsey Plum is tied for third in the WNBA with 13 made 3-pointers and is shooting 52 percent (13 of 25) from long range.

Phoenix (2-1) followed up the loss to Las Vegas with a two-game sweep of the Seattle Storm. The Mercury won the first game 97-77 at home Wednesday and then went to Seattle to score a 69-64 victory Saturday.

Longtime Mercury star Diana Taurasi scored 24 points in the latter win after combining for just 24 over the first two games. In the opener against Las Vegas, Taurasi had just nine points on 3-of-11 shooting before making 12 of 24 in the two wins over the Storm.

Diggins-Smith is averaging a team-high 19.3 points. She poured in 25 in the loss to the Aces.

The Mercury continue to play without star Brittney Griner, who remains in a Russia detention facility, with negotiations toward her release ongoing.

–Field Level Media