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Aces waive forward, sign rookie center after suffering sixth loss

Updated June 16, 2024 - 9:38 am

The Aces made two roster moves Sunday.

The two-time defending WNBA champions waived forward Emma Cannon and signed rookie center Jessika Carter, general manager Natalie Williams announced.

Carter was a second-round pick by the New York Liberty in April’s draft. The 6-foot-5 Mississippi State alum was waived prior to the regular season. Carter averaged 14.9 points and 9.9 rebounds per game for the Bulldogs last season. She is one of five players in program history to finish her collegiate career with more than 1,500 points and 1,000 rebounds.

The Aces will look to Carter to give star A’ja Wilson help in the frontcourt. Wilson is on a historic tear to start the season, leading the league by averaging 28 points and 11.5 rebounds per game. She isn’t getting much support, however.

Center Kiah Stokes is averaging 1.8 points and six rebounds per game this season as part of the starting five. Backup center Megan Gustafson is averaging three points per game.

The Aces acquired Cannon on waivers midway through training camp. She averaged only 1.8 minutes per game in five appearances during her second stint with the team. The Aces fell to 6-6 on the season after losing a 2023 WNBA Finals rematch to the Liberty on Saturday.

Cannon first came to Las Vegas in September 2020. She played in one regular-season game before making six playoff appearances. She re-signed with the Aces in 2021, but only played in three games for the team that year.

Cannon said last month this season’s team is “a lot more fun” thanks to coach Becky Hammon.

“She allows you to be you. She doesn’t put you in a box. She wants the best for you. She wants you to be great at what you do,” Cannon said. “Basically she wants you to be yourself. Especially for players who don’t get a lot of time, that means a lot.”

The Aces’ positive culture is being put to the test this season. Hammon has admitted the team’s energy isn’t living up to its normal standard.

“We don’t have an edge. And we have not had it since Day 1 in training camp and I felt it and I’ve tried to address it but we’re not that hungry,” Hammon said Saturday. “And I think there’s a lot of … nobody likes losing in that locker room.”

Guard Kelsey Plum said last week the team was “fighting for joy.” Wilson broke down in tears Saturday when she was asked about the team’s accountability.

Wilson and Hammon both said Saturday they felt the Aces had enough talent on their roster to be successful. That didn’t stop the front office from making some moves.

The Aces will now work to integrate a new player like they did recently with Tiffany Hayes, a guard the team signed out of retirement May 31.

Contact Callie Lawson-Freeman at clawsonfreeman@reviewjournal.com. Follow @CallieJLaw on X.

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