Aces coach Bill Laimbeer doesn’t call any plays for center Carolyn Swords.
And that doesn’t bother her one bit.
Swords came off the bench Sunday to contribute a 12-point, 10-rebound performance against the Indiana Fever and further solidify herself as a trusted cog in Laimbeer’s rotation.
At 6-foot-6-inches, she protects the paint on defense and battles for boards on both ends of the court. She sets good screens, finishes around the rim and embraces her role as a dirty work specialist.
“When she gets in, she takes care of business,” Las Vegas rookie A’ja Wilson said. “I love playing with her. She’s a leader. She’s like our team mom, honestly. She knows everything. We trust her. Every time she talks, we’re like all glued in. Every team needs a person like her.”
Swords, now in her seventh WNBA season, played under Laimbeer with the New York Liberty for two seasons, and joined the Aces as a free agent in the offseason.
She played sparingly early in the year, and logged several did-not-plays as the Aces worked to establish their young players. But Laimbeer knew he could count on Swords’preparation and professionalism.
“She understands what her responsibility and her role is,” he said. “She knows that A’ja Wilson is going to shoot. She knows that Kayla McBride is going to shoot. So she goes and tries to get the offensive rebounds, which she’s very good at. Her size is a big positive for us also. She knows all the plays, and she executes them on time.”
Swords’ statistics aren’t glamorous — she’s averaging 2.8 points and 3.9 rebounds. But her presence extends beyond her statistical contributions.
She’s smart and steady.
And always ready.
“I feel like we’re really gelling. We’re trying to problem solve together,” said Swords, who had four blocks against the Fever. “I’m trying to stay alert, be a rim protector, making sure I’m aware what’s going on. Talking to my teammates. … Being ready to react.”