Aces hire Becky Hammon as new head coach

Becky Hammon, who has been on the San Antonio Spurs bench since 2014, is the first full-time, paid female assistant coach in the NBA (Jasen Vinlove – USA TODAY Sports)

By Shawn McCullough

The Las Vegas Aces have a new head coach.

Former San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon was named the Aces head coach.

Hammon was with the Spurs as a coach since 2014, but will now be a head coach for the first time.

“I am so excited to return to the WNBA and grateful for Mark Davis and Nikki Fargas having a vision for me to lead the Aces,” said Hammon. “This is where I come from, and I wouldn’t be me without the W. I’m thrilled to be able to give back and lead this next group of women.”

Hammon will replace Bill Laimbeer, who was the Aces head coach from 2018 through 2021.  Laimbeer will remain within the organization to help build the 2022 roster.

“This is the best possible scenario for the Las Vegas Aces,” said Laimbeer. “It takes a tremendous amount of energy to be a head coach. In Becky, the team now has somebody who can serve in that role for the long term, which is great for both the players and the franchise.”

Hammon played for both the New York Liberty and the San Antonio Stars in the WNBA.

NOTE: The Aces also added basketball legend Jennifer Azzi as the team’s chief business development officer.

Raiders win another cliffhanger 17-13 over Broncos; Jacobs redeems himself after first quarter fumble

Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) on a give to running back Josh Jacobs (28) in the second half of action at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on Sun Dec 26, 2021 (AP News photo)

By Rich Perez

Las Vegas Raiders beat writer

The Las Vegas Raiders (8-7) were down by six points when running back Josh Jacobs approached the coaches at the half against the Denver Broncos (7-8) up 13-7 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. Jacobs asked them to give him the ball that he will not let the rock get away from him like he did in the first half fumbling the ball away for a turnover.

Jacobs was granted a second chance he made up for the lost football in the first quarter and he took it to the Broncos on seven carries running for 57 yards on the opening series of the second half.

After nine plays and 75 yards of offensive effort the Raiders hit pay dirt scoring as running back Peyton Barber carried for five yards that gave the Raiders a third quarter touchdown that put them ahead 14-13.

Jacobs carried for 129 yards to help beat the Broncos and the win help keep the Raiders post season hopes alive as they move a game over .500. The Broncos now have lost three of their last four games and this puts their playoff hopes in jeopardy.

The Raiders win helped the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East through tiebreakers. The Raiders victory Sunday marks their second straight game. They also had another cliffhanger edging the Cleveland Browns on Sun Dec 19th 16-14. In three of their last four games the Raiders have held their opponents to just 17 or less points.

On Jacobs getting the ball he was gratetful for that second chance to help the Raiders punch it through for that third quarter touchdown, “Just give me a chance to play the style of ball that I want to play. The offensive line, we all came to an agreement and went out there and did it and executed.” said Jacobs. For Jacobs this was his first time rushing for 100 yards in a single game.

The Raiders play their next to last game of the season against the Indianapolis Colts (9-6) this coming Sun Jan 2, 2021 in Indianapolis 10:00AM PST. The Colts have won six of their last seven games. They had a huge win over the Arizona Cardinals (10-5) Sunday in Arizona 22-16.

Las Vegas Raiders podcast with Rich Perez: Chiefs showed Raiders what happens when you disrespect them in their own house; Browns have 14 players out for Monday

The Kansas City Chiefs logo at the 50 yard that the Raiders stomped on before last Sun Dec 12, 2021 game at Arrowhead Stadium according to social media (AP News photo)

On the Raiders podcast with Rich:

#1 Rich, the Raiders stomping on the Kansas City Chiefs logo at midfield is one of those unwritten football codes you just don’t do and the payback for it was unforgettable last Sunday to the tune of a 48-9 loss at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.

#2 Before kickoff the Raiders moved their huddle from the 25 yard line to midfield right on top of the Chiefs logo at the 50 yard line. It was reported that most of the Raider players had no idea that the pre game huddle was a way to show disrespect to their hosts.

#3 Chiefs running back Mike Hughes said he had no idea what it was about until after the game and the social media chatter and said it was pretty disrespectful.

#4 The Chiefs made the Raiders pay dearly for it not letting up all and game long. The was the biggest landslide win or loss for the Raiders and Chiefs in their 62 year history and it was mostly built on payback.

#5 Rich, the Raiders are in Cleveland this Monday at 2:00 PM PST to face the Browns (7-6) the Browns in their last game just narrowly got by the Baltimore Ravens (8-5) 24-22 in Cleveland. Cleveland also has 14 players and coaches out for Covid 19 protocols for this Sunday’s game.

Join Rich Perez for the Raiders podcasts Fridays at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Las Vegas Raiders podcast with Rich Perez: Raiders do enough to stay ahead of Cowboys; Get OT field goal from Carlson for winner 36-33

Las Vegas Raiders kicker Daniel Carlson (2) kicks a 29 yard game winning field goal in overtime against the Dallas Cowboys on Thu Nov 25, 2021 at AT &T stadium in Arlington (AP News photo)

On the Raiders podcast with Rich:

The Las Vegas Raiders (6-5) kicker Daniel Carlson kicked the game winning field goal in overtime to just get the Raiders by the Dallas Cowboys (7-4) on Thanksgiving Day Thu Nov 25, 2021 36-33. It was a real nail biter the Raiders had just enough to stay ahead of the Cowboys throughout the game and got into overtime to get Carlson in good field position to boot the 29 yarder for the winner.

The win for the Raiders makes this their first Thanksgiving Day victory since 1968 the last time they won. This Thursday’s victory ended a two game losing streak and Thursday made it their third Thanksgiving game since 1968 as the Cowboys had won the two previous games.

The Cowboys Anthony Brown just couldn’t keep out of pass interference trouble. Brown’s pass interference help set up a field goal for Carlson. Brown would commit four third down pass interference penalties it no doubt was a factor in the Cowboys losing this game.

Rich Perez did the Raiders podcast at the conclusion of Thu Nov 25, 2021 in Dallas against the Cowboys at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Raiders display varied offense to win 33-22 over Eagles

The Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Bryan Edwards (89) keeps the football after scoring a second half touchdown agianst the Philadelphia Eagles on Sun Oct 24, 2021 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas (AP News photo)

Raiders display varied offense to win 33-22 over Eagles.

By Rich Perez

Las Vegas Raiders beat writer

The Las Vegas Raiders (5-2) came out on fire on an office and the fence playing a great all-around game beating the Philadelphia Eagles (2-5) 33 to 22. Raiders quarterback Derek Carr distributed the ball to varied receivers and running backs in a great effort of offense that the Raiders have not seen in a while.

The defense added a superior effort in shutting down Jalen Hurts. Kenyan Drake had a tremendous game running the ball as did Josh Jacobs in key situations. Brian Edwards scored a tough 2 yard touchdown and is beginning to really blossom as wide receiver for the team.

The bye week for the Raiders is well deserved they really played well these first weeks of the season. Unfortunately they had a hiccup with Coach Gruden when they lost to the Chicago Bears on Oct 10th at Allegiant Stadium but they’ve seemed to have overcome it.

Carr had time to throw the ball on Sunday improving his pass to complete ratio going 31-34 for 323 yards for two touchdowns and was intercepted once. Raiders head coach Rich Bisaccia who is now 2-0 “The offensive line today set the tempo for what we’re trying to do. Not only in the run game, but pass protection. They kept him clean with no sacks. They’re a young group that’s on the come up and they’ve been practicing extremely hard. They were exciting to watch..” said Bisaccia.

For the Eagles who lost their fifth game of the season quarterback Jalen Hurts just couldn’t get more than half of his passes completed going 18-34 for 236 yards and two touchdowns. The Eagles scored seven in the first quarter and 15 in the fourth. Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox said they tried to get at Carr today on the defensive end today but just couldn’t stop him, “Getting rid of the ball quick. You go out and use a stopwatch and see how the ball is going quick at the end of the day, he was on fire. We didn’t get to him.” said Cox.

The Raiders head into a bye week next week Oct 31st and will go to New Jersey to face the New York Giants on Sun Nov 7th at the Meadowlands.

Las Vegas Raiders podcast with Rich Perez: U.S. House of Reps to establish Oversight Committee on Gruden emails; plus more

The US House of Representatives are looking into former Las Vegas Raiders head coach for his email that he sent to former Washington Football Team president Bruce Allen. The hearings will be held at US Capital (file photo from istock)

On the Raiders podcast with Rich:

#1 Rich, the US House of Representatives are forming an oversight committee to investigate former Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden’s emails that he sent out to former that he sent while working as an analyst for ESPN to former Washington Football Team president Bruce Allen.

#2 The Representatives are requesting copies of the emails that had homophobic, racist, and misogynistic slurs which led Gruden to have to resign from the team. The Committee is asking the NFL to produce all of the emails. Gruden could end up on the Hill as a sworn witness to testify about the emails.

#3 The purpose for the investigation is the Reps are looking into widespread complaints about the WFT and the NFL having abusive workplace conduct and want to see how the league is handling the matter.

#4 On the field the Raiders are coming off their first game since Gruden left with a 34-24 win over the Denver Broncos last Sunday taking a look at their next game against the Philadelphia Eagles and quarterback Jalen Hurts the Eagles are coming off last week’s loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

#5 The Raiders quarterback Derek Carr who was 18-27, 341 yards and threw for two touchdowns and the Raiders are favored to defeat the Eagles at Allegiant in Vegas this Sun Oct 24th a 1:05 kick off. Rich how do you see this match up.

Join Rich for the Raiders podcasts each Friday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Mercury rally in fourth quarter, eliminate Aces

Photo credit: Shawn McCullough (Sports Radio Service)


By Shawn McCullough

The Aces season came to an end in an 87-84 loss to the Phoenix Mercury at Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas.

“We got down and clawed back and didn’t give up,” said Mercury center Brittney Griner. “Super proud of the team.  We got the win.”

The Mercury won the best of five game series over the Aces three games to two.

Las Vegas led 66-58 after three quarters, but Phoenix outscored the Aces 29-18 in the fourth quarter to advance to the WNBA Finals.

“Someone has to lose and we did,” said head coach Bill Laimbeer. “We didn’t make the plays that we needed to in the fourth quarter and they did.”

Down two points with less than one second left, Griner blocked A’ja Wilson’s layout to seal the win.

“She [Griner] has been amazing all year,” said Phoenix guard Skylar Diggins-Smith. “She is a superstar.”

“A’ja was our second option,” said Laimbeer. “She had a good move, but Griner got a hand on it.”

Wilson took the loss hard, falling to the ground at the end of the game in tears.

Laimbeer stressed that Phoenix emerged victorious in the game because of the leadership from guard Diana Taurasi and Griner.

“This team [Aces] has lacked leadership throughout the season,” said Laimbeer.  “It’s a good learning experience for us.”

Kelsey Plum and Chelsea Gray led the Aces with 22 points, while Wilson added 21 points and 10 rebounds.

“I’m just proud to be a part of the Las Vegas Aces,” said Plum. “We were so close, that’s why it hurts.  We will be back, I have no doubt in my mind and the result will be different.”

“We played together as much as possible, but it didn’t go our way tonight,” said Gray.

The Aces head into the offseason with a list of unrestricted free agents including Liz Cambage, Riquna Williams, Angel McCoughtry and Kiah Stokes.

Las Vegas Aces – http://aces.wnba.com

Game Notes:

– The Aces shot 42.0% from the field.
– Las Vegas went 20 for 20 from the free-throw line.
– The Aces out-rebounded the Mercury, 38-29.
– Las Vegas turned the ball over 16 times.

Game Starters:

F – 22 A’ja Wilson
F – 3 Riquna Williams
C – 8 Liz Cambage
G – 0 Jackie Young
G – 12 Chelsea Gray

Aces Injury Report:

Angel McCoughtry—Out, right ACL

Aces force deciding game five in 93-76 win over Phoenix

Phoenix Mercury guard Skylar Diggins-Smith vies for the ball with Las Vegas Aces guard Kelsey Plum and guard Jackie Young (0) during the first half of Game 4 of a WNBA basketball playoff series Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)


By Shawn McCullough

The Aces blew the game open in the third quarter, going on a 24-0 run to take game four of the WNBA Semifinals, 93-76, over the Mercury in Phoenix.

“We played a solid basketball game,” said head coach Bill Laimbeer. “The whole package is who we are.”

With the win, the Aces and Mercury will play a deciding game five on Friday in Las Vegas.  Winner advances to the WNBA Finals against the Chicago Sky.

“We haven’t won anything,” said Laimbeer. “It’s 2-2, that’s where we are supposed to be.”

The Aces were led by guard Chelsea Gray with 22 points, while guard Kelsey Plum came off the bench to score 20.

“We had great energy and just a different change in attitude,” said Plum. “Getting beat the last two games was humbling.”

A’ja Wilson recorded a double-double, scoring 15 points and pulling down 12 rebounds.

The Aces will attempt to advance to the WNBA Finals for the second straight season.

Las Vegas Aces – http://aces.wnba.com

Game Notes:

– The Aces shot 48.1% from the field.
– Las Vegas out-rebounded the Mercury, 37-35.
– The Aces went 11 for 22 from three-point range.

Game Starters:

F – 22 A’ja Wilson
F – 3 Riquna Williams
C – 8 Liz Cambage
G – 0 Jackie Young
G – 12 Chelsea Gray

Aces Injury Report:

Angel McCoughtry—Out, right ACL

Aces on brink of elimination after blowout loss, 87-60

Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner (42) shoots over Las Vegas Aces forward A’ja Wilson (22) during the first half of a WNBA basketball game Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)


By Shawn McCullough

The Aces shot just 30.9% from the field in an 87-60 loss to the Mercury in Phoenix in game three of the WNBA Semifinals.

“We just didn’t have it offensively today,” said head coach Bill Laimbeer. “Shooting 30% isn’t going to win games. We missed a lot of shots that we normally make.”

“I don’t feel like this is our team,” said center Liz Cambage. “We can’t start games 10-0.”

Cambage led the Aces with 13 points, while Dearica Hamby added 10.

A’ja Wilson went just 2 for 14 from the field.

“A’ja didn’t get on track today and neither did [Kelsey] Plum,” said Laimbeer.

The Mercury dominated the Aces on the boards, pulling down 58 rebounds, to Las Vegas’ 29.

“When you miss a lot of shots like we did, the defensive team is going to get a lot of rebounds,” said Laimbeer.

Brianna Turner led the Mercury with 23 points while pulling down 17 rebounds.

The Mercury now lead the best of five series two games to one heading into game four on Wednesday in Phoenix.

“We need to go back to playing our game,” said guard Jackie Young.

Las Vegas Aces – http://aces.wnba.com

Game Notes:

– The Mercury shot 44.3% from the field.
– Only two Aces players scored in double figures.
– The Aces went just 2 for 14 from three-point range.

Game Starters:

F – 22 A’ja Wilson
F – 3 Riquna Williams
C – 8 Liz Cambage
G – 0 Jackie Young
G – 12 Chelsea Gray

Aces Injury Report:

Angel McCoughtry—Out, right ACL

Aces blown out in game two of semifinals, 117-91

Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi (3) calls a play as she brings the up court against the Las Vegas Aces during the second half of Game 2 in the semifinals of the WNBA playoffs Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)


By Shawn McCullough

The Phoenix Mercury stole home court advantage with a 117-91 blowout of the Las Vegas Aces at the Michelob Ultra Arena.

“Effort, we didn’t have it tonight,” said head coach Bill Laimbeer. “They played harder because they wanted it more than us.”

Laimbeer wasn’t happy with his team’s performance, but also was unhappy with the referees.

“Getting a little tired of the referees and how we’re being refereed,” said Laimbeer.

Kelsey Plum led the Aces with 25 points off the bench, going 10 for 17 from the field including 3 for 8 from three-point range.

The Aces had six players score in double digits, while shooting 52.2% from the field.

The Aces just couldn’t find a way to stop Mercury guard Diana Taurasi, who dropped 37 points, hitting eight three-pointers.

Phoenix started the game fast, building a 17-point lead in the first quarter.  The Mercury controlled the game after that.

The Aces and the Mercury are now tied 1-1 in the best of five game series.

The Aces will travel to Phoenix to play game three of the WNBA semifinals on Sunday.

Las Vegas Aces – http://aces.wnba.com

Game Notes:

– The Mercury shot 60.6% from the field.
– The Aces were out-rebounded by Phoenix, 36-23.
– Las Vegas turned the ball over just six times (Phoenix had 14 turnovers).

Game Starters:

F – 22 A’ja Wilson
F – 3 Riquna Williams
C – 41 Kiah Stokes
G – 0 Jackie Young
G – 12 Chelsea Gray

Aces Injury Report:

Angel McCoughtry—Out, right ACL