Aces post players Liz Cambage and A’ja Wilson weren’t particularly impressed with their individual performances Sunday, and they definitely weren’t surprised.
“That’s kind of just the way we are,” Wilson said while Cambage grinned beside her in approval. “We handle business.”
They certainly did.
Cambage scored 28 points on 12 of 15 shooting, adding six rebounds, two steals and a block in a 92-75 victory over the Washington Mystics. And Wilson had 21 points on 8 of 14 shooting to go with eight rebounds, two steals and two blocks to round out the tandem’s most effective outing of the season.
The two asserted their will early and often, combining to score 14 of their team’s first 16 points. They battered smaller opposing defenders.
Over and over and over.
“Our offense is structured around a dual post situation,” said Aces coach Bill Laimbeer, acknowledging he envisioned this type of interior dominance when he acquired Cambage from the Dallas Wings in May. “They did their job. It’s what they’re paid to do.”
Cambage and Wilson have buoyed the Aces offensively all year. They can generate efficient shot opportunities at a moment’s notice if their perimeter players are struggling. They have a significant advantage in particular against the Mystics, who, like most WNBA teams, lack the requisite bulk to stop the 6-foot-8-inch Cambage.
Or combination of agility and size to slow the grace of the 6-foot-4-inch Wilson.
“We’ve had our moments when we haven’t been able to convert, and we have our moments when we’ve been able to take advantage of our strengths,” Laimbeer said. “Tonight was one of those game where we took advantage of our strengths.”
The Aces found their All-Star bigs in advantageous situations in transition and worked to create such situations in halfcourt settings. Cambage buried her defenders under the basket with deep seals to create easy entry passes for her perimeter players.
Wilson popped for open jumpers and used the threat of her jump shot to drive by defenders for layups and free throws.
“We can survive some of their post play if we do a better job on our end of the court,” Mystics coach Mike Thibault said.
But Washington shot 38.6 percent from the field and its defense couldn’t set while Cambage and Wilson combined to shoot 69 percent.
They handle their business, alright, and business on Sunday was booming.