Aces reserve forward Dearica Hamby needed 11 points Saturday night against the Dallas Wings to reach the 1,000-point plateau. She finished with a career-high 27.
Oh, and a decisive victory.
She’ll take that, too.
The Aces rebounded from a blowout loss to the Washington Mystics with an 86-68 win over the Wings at Mandalay Bay Events Center. Hamby reached the career milestone with a 3-pointer in the third quarter and had 19 points in the second half to earn an ovation from the 4,347 in attendance.
“Every night, I come out and play as hard as I can,” said Hamby, who downplayed the significance of her personal accomplishments. “I’m glad that it was rewarded tonight.”
The Aces drew the ire of coach Bill Laimbeer after an uninspiring 95-72 loss to Washington on Thursday, prompting a 75-minute film session after practice Friday.
Their half-court offense was stagnant and disjointed against the Mystics. Their half-court defense was porous and ineffective.
What a difference two days can make.
Rookie guard Jackie Young probed the paint off pick-and-rolls for seven early points and created scoring opportunities in the first quarter for A’ja Wilson and Liz Cambage. In the second quarter, the Aces relied on their defense to create separation, contesting shots and forcing turnovers during a decisive 17-4 run.
“That’s the type of team that we need to be at all times,” said Wilson, who had 20 points on 9-for-12 shooting and eight rebounds. “We kind of didn’t really show it against Washington. We knew we had to go back to the drawing board and get an understanding of where people need to be on time and just communicate out there. And that’s what we did.”
Las Vegas (5-4) parlayed a 49-34 halftime lead into a 27-point lead in the second half. Wilson assaulted Dallas’ interior defense, and Hamby ran the floor in transition for uncontested layups and 3-pointers.
Cambage wasn’t a focal point offensively but had perhaps her most complete performance of the season, finishing with 11 points, nine rebounds, a career-high six assists and five blocks.
Young, the No. 1 overall pick who had struggled in the half court, finished with nine points on 4-for-7 shooting and eight assists for the Aces, who assisted on 31 of 35 field goals.
“All the team has been very supportive of her being more aggressive,” Laimbeer said. “Tonight, she came out with the mindset that ‘I’m going to be aggressive and see what happens.’ Good things happen when you do that.”
Laimbeer said he was satisfied with his team’s performance, but emphasized that the Wings (2-6) aren’t nearly as good as the Mystics, who advanced to the WNBA Finals last season.
Dallas shot 28.6 percent from the field, including 19.4 percent from 3-point range.