Liz Cambage doesn’t yet believe the Aces have played to their full potential this season.
Imagine if they do.
The Aces moved past the earthquake-postponement of Friday’s home game against the Washington Mystics by opening a four-game road trip Sunday with a resounding 90-58 WNBA win over the New York Liberty at Westchester County Center in White Plains, New York.
Kayla McBride scored 24 points on 8-for-11 shooting and made a season-high five 3-pointers. Cambage added a season-high 21 points to go with 11 rebounds, and helped anchor a dominant defensive showing.
“I was just ready to get back on the court with the girls. … There’s so much more in us,” Cambage said. “We just came together after that last game, and really wanted to get the job done.”
That they did.
The Aces have soared atop the Western Conference standings with victories in seven of their past nine games, though they trailed 51-36 to the Mystics on Friday night when the 7.1-magnitude Ridgecrest, California, quake rolled through Las Vegas and the Manadalay Bay Events Center and forced the game to be halted at halftime.
Las Vegas coach Bill Laimbeer was dissatisfied with the team’s effort after that game.
He was pleased with it, though, following Sunday’s thrashing of the Liberty.
The Aces opened the first quarter with a 17-6 run by igniting their transition game, which often keys their halfcourt offense. Cambage asserted low-post position and bullied Liberty defenders to 13 first-half points while McBride used screens on and off the ball to find space for her jumper and added 13 more.
“We wanted to come out and set the tone, which I thought we did in the first quarter,” McBride said. “We were able to get stops early, which allowed us to get in transition, allowed us to get more comfortable on the offensive end. Sometimes when we’re not getting stops, we feel a little bit more pressure on offense.”
Las Vegas (9-5) rolled to a 44-32 halftime lead and piled on the Liberty (7-8) in the second half, stifling their post players and guards with timely, synchronized defensive rotations. The Aces’ interior defense held New York leading scorer Tina Charles to 5-of-16 shooting, and second-leading scorer Kia Nurse to 1-of-13 shooting.
The Liberty shot 29.7 percent from the field, including 27.3 percent from 3-point range.
The Aces move on to play the Indiana Fever on Wednesday.
“Different nights, different people will step up,” Laimbeer said. “We have a lot of quality players and (Sunday) was defensive, and that was the game plan.”