Aces veteran wing Tamera Young sent a text message to her teammates Sunday regarding postseason aspirations after learning of the Dallas Wings’ eighth straight loss.
“I’m like ‘We still have the chance. It’s up to us,’ ” she explained. “We’ve just got to bring it and be prepared.”
But with three games left, and no margin for error, the playoffs have essentially started.
The Aces (13-18) are one game behind the Wings (14-17) for the No. 8 and final playoff seed as they prepare for what has become their most important game of the season against the New York Liberty on Wednesday.
Young and center Carolyn Swords are the only players on the youthful roster with meaningful playoff experience. And Young compared the stakes of the final week of the WNBA season to the intensity of postseason play.
“It’s almost like the beginning of a playoff run,” she said. “It’s like one and done. These games are very vital. We have to come out and win them.”
The Aces are two losses, two Wings wins or a combination of both away from elimination. They host the Liberty and then travel to Dallas on Friday to face the Wings in a game that could solidify the postseason landscape.
They’ll conclude their inaugural Las Vegas regular season Sunday with a home game against the Atlanta Dream, who are without star Angel McCoughtry for the rest of the season.
Dallas fired its coach, Fred Williams, on Sunday following a 93-80 loss at Washington.
“I think we’re in a good spot,” Aces coach Laimbeer said. “As a team, we could be a worse record, we could be a better record, and we’re probably in the neck of the woods of where we should be. … Right now it’s beyond our control what Dallas does.”
Swords spoke of the Aces’ maturity and said they’re at a point where they’re comfortable playing together and holding each other accountable.
The young players have grown up quickly through the relocation and condensed regular-season schedule. The veterans are continuing to maintain standards and set expectations.
“That expectation of holding ourselves to a pretty high standard and looking toward making the playoffs, whereas I don’t know if many people in general were expecting that from us,” Swords said. “It’s been a tough season. That’s kind of the grind of the WNBA. It’s pushing through any fatigue, trying to be mentally locked in no matter how your body is feeling.”