Aces’ depth continues to provide a spark

The Las Vegas Aces are led by their all-star starters but their depth has been just as important to their success.

LAS VEGAS — The Aces depth has been a tremendous benefit to an already stacked squad that has goals of going back-to-back this season. Starting off a critical five-game homestand with a 101-88 win against the Indiana Fever, with the bench providing a major spark.

“When we get our opportunity to go out there and give our starters a break, that’s our job” George said. “To go out there and make sure we maintain a certain level and that our team still looks like a well oiled machine regardless of if the starters are on the floor or the bench players.”

The bench came and did just that Saturday night against the Fever allowing the starters to get rets while keeping up the play on the court. Alysha Clark and Kiah Stokes would be the first reserves off the Aces bench providing a spark on both ends of the court.

Alysha Clark would provide a huge spark offensively with five quick points showing off her three point shot and also her ability to get to the basket.

“She’s gonna give it a hundred percent always and we know what to expect from AC every single night and I love the consistency from her because it helps us” Wilson said. She holds us accountable, she’s vocal with us so we know exactly where AC is and what to get out of here and I love that. It’s always good when like KP said it may not be everybody’s night but to have that cushion that comfort of a veteran like AC there in the paint communicating with you it makes you say ok I can approach these things differently.”

Kiah Stokes would make her presence know on the defensive end with an emphatic block with 2:23 remaining in the second quarter leading to a fast break resulting in a Jackie Young layup to put the Aces up 13. Stokes finished the first half with two blocks and five defensive rebounds which is something the Aces are currently tied for first with New York who they will see Thursday. They are currently averaging 29.5 defensive rebounds per game and it’s something Cayla George takes pride in for providing for the Aces.

“My goal is defensive rebounding,” George said. “ I don’t like to think about offense because it gets a bit overwhelming. I think that just comes naturally when you have some defensive energy and you get a few cheap rebounds, it helps you get in the game a bit as well.”

From top to bottom this Aces bench has been huge but it’s not even at full strength since guard Riquna Williams has been out with a back injury. Williams was huge in last year’s Aces championship  run, contributing on both the defensive and offensive end while playing twenty minutes per game and averaging seven points per game.

“I think anytime your able to have depth there is power behind that and we haven’t even talked about bay (Riquna WIlliams)  and when she is gonna return and how much she adds to the team” Parker said. “I think overall we are in a good place but we understand that it’s not about what we have done so far it’s about what we are gonna do.”

The Depth showed up huge again for the Aces in the second half when A’ja Wilson got in foul trouble late in the third quarter and had to go the bench with four fouls. Kiah Stokes would come in for Wilson and would continue to make her presence known on defense contesting shots and grabbing huge defensive rebounds limiting the Fever’s extra chance opportunities. Stokes would finish the game with eight rebounds and three blocked shots.

“Between Kiah, Candace and A’ja you know all three very good defensive players so when she goes out yea we lose obviously some offense but defensively I don’t think we should be hit too hard” Hammon said.

The Aces depth has been needed early in the season with the team starting the season with six of their first eight games on the road.

“That road trip was tough especially playing the first six of eight games I don’t care who you are playing on the road” Parker said.

Added Hammon: “We have depth thats why we have the bench we have. I feel good about Alysha Clark coming in, I feel good about Kiah Stokes coming in and on down the road so we should not really miss a beat when someone gets in foul trouble even A’ja Wilson. On any given night anybody’s number can be called anything can happen.”

The Aces will continue their homestand with another game against the Indiana Fever on Monday with tip off set for 7 p.m.