Huskies, Petersen beat Boise State in Las Vegas Bowl 38-7

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Photo credit: Getty Images

By Shawn McCullough

LAS VEGAS–The Washington Huskies sent their head coach out on a good note.

Washington (8-5) beat up the Mountain West champion Boise State Mustangs 38-7 in the Las Vegas Bowl at Sam Boyd Stadium.

Huskies head coach Chris Petersen surprisingly announced his retirement from Washington on December 2nd, but agreed to coach the Huskies for his final game in the Las Vegas Bowl.

“It’s never about one person,” said Petersen about his last game.  “It’s about the team playing really, really well.”

Petersen formerly was the head coach at Boise State and went 92-12 from 2006 to 2013.  He led the Broncos to two undefeated season in 2006 and 2009.

“For us to finish on this note, I just feel really good for the guys that are leaving this program and the guys that are coming back,” said Petersen.

Redshirt junior quarterback Jacob Eason led the Huskies throwing for 210 yards and one touchdown.

“It was awesome just the way this whole team played,” said Eason.  “I play well and this team plays well.  Overall we just played well and efficient and got the result that we wanted.”

The Huskies started the scoring in the first quarter with Eason hitting Andre Baccellia on a slant for a 17 yard touchdown to take a 7-0 lead.

Washington later scored in the second quarter on a pitch sweep to running back Salvon Ahmed, who beat the outside contain and sprinted into the right corner of the end zone to go up 14-0.  The Huskies added a field goal late in the second to go into halftime up 17-0.

“Our guys played hard and they were ready to go out there and play, but as coaches, we didn’t do a good enough job to make the adjustments that we needed to do,” said Boise State head coach Bryan Harsin.  “I am proud of our guys”.

Boise State freshman quarterback Hank Bachmeier struggled in the first half throwing for just 87 yards and two interceptions sparking a quarterback change to redshirt senior Jaylon Henderson.

Henderson led an eleven play, 77 yard drive in the third quarter for the Mustang’s only points of the game on a 10 yard touchdown pass to running back George Holani.

The Mustang loss dropped Boise State to 12-2 on the season, snapping a six game winning streak.

Game Notes:

  • Washington defensive back Elijah Molden was named the game’s MVP with nine tackles and one interception
  • This was the 28th straight and final Las Vegas Bowl played at Sam Boyd Stadium
  • Sam Boyd Stadium seats 36,800
  • The Las Vegas Bowl will move to the currently under construction Allegiant Stadium in 2020, home of the Oakland Raiders and the UNLV Running Rebels

Aces fall, eliminated from playoffs in 94-90 loss

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Photo credit: AP Photo/John Locher

By Shawn McCullough

The dream of a WNBA championship for the Las Vegas Aces faded away on Tuesday night.

The Washington Mystics won the best of five series, three games to one, with a 94-90 victory over the Aces at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.

“At this point, obviously, we’d like to win our home games and move on to game five and throw it up and see who wins, but it didn’t happen,” said head coach Bill Laimbeer. “I told our players to hold their heads high.  I think that this was not a brutal loss.   We got beat by a basketball team that out-executed us and they played very well.”

Liz Cambage led the Aces with 25 points and 12 rebounds, while Dearica Hamby came off the bench and added 18.

“It was a very interesting season, but definitely my favorite season that I have ever had in the WNBA,” said Cambage.

The Aces will head into the 2020 season with five unrestricted free agents: Liz Cambage, Tamera Young, Sugar Rodgers, Carolyn Swords, Jaime Nared.

“Going forward, we are all excited about this situation,” said Laimbeer about their team for next season. “We will make some changes, obviously every team does.  We know some pieces that we need.”

“I love this team, I love my teammates, I love this city,” said Cambage. “This is hands down the best organization that I have ever been a part of and hopefully they will have me back for next season because I don’t want to be anywhere else.”

Las Vegas Aces – http://aces.wnba.com

Series Results:

Game 1 – Mystics 97, Aces 95
Game 2 – Mystics 103, Aces 91
Game 3 – Aces 92, Mystics 75
Game 4 – Mystics 94, Aces 90

Game Notes:

  • A’ja Wilson scored just four points in 26 minutes, going 1 for 4 from the field.
  • The Mystics will return to the WNBA Finals in back to back seasons.
  • The Aces out-rebounded the Mystics 39-29.

Game Starters:

F – 22 A’ja Wilson
F – 21 Kayla McBride
C – 8 Liz Cambage
G – 0 Jackie Young
G – 10 Kelsey Plum

Aces on the brink of elimination after 103-91 loss

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Photo credit: Nick Wass (Associated Press)

By Shawn McCullough

The Aces went down two games to none in the best of five playoff series after a 103-91 loss to the Mystics in Washington, D.C.

“Washington did what they are supposed to do, win their home games,” said head coach Bill Laimbeer. “Now it’s our turn to go back to Las Vegas and now it’s our turn to go back to our home court and then come back here [Washington, D.C.] and go at it again.”

The Aces trailed at halftime 50-49, but the Mystics pulled away in the third quarter outscoring the Aces 30-20.

Liz Cambage recorded back to back double-doubles, scoring 23 points and pulling down 10 rebounds.

“We aren’t done, we are just getting started,” said Cambage. “This is serious for a reason.  We get to go home and go back to the house and play in front of our fans who lift us up every game.”

Kelsey Plum added 19, going 9 for 15 from the field.

“They [Mystics] capitalize on every mistake that you make and they are such a good team in terms of how they execute,” said Plum.

The two teams will next play game 3 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on Sunday.

Las Vegas Aces – http://aces.wnba.com

Playoff Schedule:

Game 1 – Mystics 97, Aces 95
Game 2 – Mystics 103, Aces 91
Game 3 – Sunday, September 22 – Mystics at Aces
Game 4 – Tuesday, September 24 – Mystics at Aces (if needed)
Game 5 – Thursday, September 26 – Aces at Mystics (if needed)

Game Notes:

  • The Mystics shot 52.1% from the field, while the Aces shot 49.3%
  • Las Vegas out-rebounded Washington again 35-28.
  • The Aces turned the ball over 12 times to the Mystics six.

Game Starters:

F – 22 A’ja Wilson
F – 21 Kayla McBride
C – 8 Liz Cambage
G – 0 Jackie Young
G – 10 Kelsey Plum

Aces drop game 1 of best of 5 series, 97-95

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Photo credit: Nick Wass (Associated Press)

By Shawn McCullough

Coming off a dramatic win in the second round of the playoffs, the Aces fell to the #1 seed Mystics 97-95 in Washington, D.C.

The Aces rallied back in the 4th quarter with a 14-3 run, but Kelsey Plum missed a jumper at the buzzer which would have tied the game.

A’ja Wilson led the Aces with 23 points, while Liz Cambage registered a double-double with 19 points and 12 rebounds.

Kayla McBride also scored 19 points while going 3 for 5 from 3-point range.

The two teams will play the second game of the five game series on Thursday in Washington, D.C. before returning back to Las Vegas for Game 3.

Las Vegas Aces – http://aces.wnba.com

Playoff Schedule:

Game 1 – Mystics 97, Aces 95
Game 2 – Thursday, September 19 – Aces at Mystics
Game 3 – Sunday, September 22 – Mystics at Aces
Game 4 – Tuesday, September 24 – Mystics at Aces (if needed)
Game 5 – Thursday, September 26 – Aces at Mystics (if needed)

Game Notes:

  • The Aces shot 50% from the field, while holding the Mystics to 44.7%
  • Las Vegas out-rebounded Washington 42-30.
  • The Aces turned the ball over 13 times to the Mystics four.

Game Starters:

F – 22 A’ja Wilson
G – 21 Kayla McBride
C – 8 Liz Cambage
G – 0 Jackie Young
F – 1 Tamera Young

Aces Fly Sky High in Playoff Win Over Chicago

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Photo credit: L.E. Baskow (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

By Shawn McCullough

The Aces first playoff game since 2014 did not disappoint.

Down 92-90, Dearica Hamby hit a running 3-pointer from 35 feet with 4.8 seconds left to give the Aces the 93-92 win over the Chicago Sky in the second round of the WNBA Playoffs at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.

With the Aces down by two and soon looking to foul, Hamby picked off a pass by guard Courtney Vandersloot at mid-count, took one dribble and drilled the 35 footer.  The Sky later inbounded the ball, but forward Astou Ndour missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

“I honestly panicked,” said Hamby on the game winning shot. “I got the steal and I kind of knew that time was running down, but I honestly completely blanked out that there was five extra seconds on the clock.  It just went in.  The basketball gods are obviously on our side.”

“I’m glad Hamby executed the play I drew up,” head coach Bill Laimbeer said jokingly.  “It was like ‘oh, no, no, don’t do that and then WHAM…. Great shot!'”

Liz Cambage led the Aces with 23 points while A’ja Wilson added a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds.

“When Dearica made that shot, that was our x factor,” said Wilson. “I’m not surprised at all. Dearica pushed for this, she deserves this and that’s something I never really seen before and that’s crazy.”

With the win, the Aces advanced to the WNBA Semifinals to play a best of five game series against the number one seed Washington Mystics.

Las Vegas Aces – http://aces.wnba.com

Aces WNBA Semifinals Schedule:

Game 1 – Tuesday, September 17 – Aces at Mystics
Game 2 – Thursday, September 19 – Aces at Mystics
Game 3 – Sunday, September 22 – Mystics at Aces
Game 4 – Tuesday, September 24 – Mystics at Aces (if needed)
Game 5 – Thursday, September 26 – Aces at Mystics (if needed)

Game Notes:

  • Kelsey Plum scored 15 points, including going 3 for 5 from 3-point range.
  • Las Vegas out-rebounded Chicago 44-36.
  • The Aces shot 45.1% from the field.
  • There were 20 lead changes in the game.

Game Starters:

F – 22 A’ja Wilson
G – 21 Kayla McBride
C – 8 Liz Cambage
G – 0 Jackie Young
F – 1 Tamera Young