Tuesday night’s 88-78 loss at Seattle aside, there’s a reason Las Vegas Aces guard Kelsey Plum will be a first-time WNBA All-Star and a starter in the league’s mid-summer classic in July.
Entering Friday night’s game in Minneapolis against the Minnesota Lynx, Plum is averaging a career-high 20.5 points and 5.5 assists per game while canning 42.8 percent of her 3-pointers. It’s the first time in her pro career that’s she resembled the star she was at Washington.
Not even a 16-point, six-turnover performance against Seattle can detract from the season Plum is constructing under first-year coach Becky Hammon.
“I think if you look at the numbers, points per minute and assists per minute, they are pretty close to last season,” Plum said. “Really, it’s about opportunity. Coach has me in a little bit of a different role.”
As the Sixth Woman of the Year winner last year, Plum played nearly 26 minutes per game. This year, she’s working nearly 35 minutes per game. Playing time is like food for players and Plum is getting full every time out.
And Hammon says Plum has earned her extra minutes because of unselfish play.
“Her most growth has come with just her willingness to pass and play with her teammates,” said Hammon. “That makes her unguardable since she does so many other things.”
While Las Vegas (14-5) is tied with Chicago for the league’s best record, Minnesota (6-14) presently resides near the Western Conference basement. But the Lynx have a favorable schedule — eight of the next 10 at home — and past history as a strong closer on their side.
Minnesota certainly looked ready to make a strong run over the season’s second half Tuesday night when it plastered Dallas 92-64 at home. Moriah Jefferson made franchise history with the Lynx’s first triple-double — 13 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
“That’s something you’re going to remember,” she said.
This is the first of a two-game series between the teams. They play again Sunday night in Minneapolis.
–Field Level Media