WNBA Wrap: Plum, Young enjoying career seasons

Published June 7, 2022, 7:00 PMYoyo Sarmenta

Kelsey Plum and Jackie Young of the Las Vegas Aces are both shining this season under the mentorship of new head coach Becky Hammon.

Game of the week

The top two teams Las Vegas Aces and Connecticut Sun went head-to-head twice this past week with each team getting a victory. 

The second meeting, in particular, was a huge statement victory for the Sun since they snapped the Aces’ seven-game streak with a 97-90 win. It was a superb bounce-back performance for them on the road after losing 89-81 just two days earlier. The game was physical, tense, and had all the makings of a playoff game.

The Sun raced to a 37-22 lead after the opening period but the Aces stormed right back in the second. The Sun created a bit of separation in the final frame and built a 92-84 advantage with under four minutes left after five straight points from Brianna Jones. Kelsey Plum answered with her personal 4-0 run to make it a four-point game with 2:55 remaining. The Sun managed to hold on, thanks to clutch shots from the line. 

Jonquel Jones tallied 20 points and seven rebounds before fouling out. DeWanna Bonner had 19 points and Courtney Williams added 18. For the Aces, Jackie Young fired 26 points but injured her ankle late in the fourth. Plum had 23 points and eight dimes. 

Team in the spotlight

It’s easy to go with the Aces (10-2) and the Sun (9-3) but the Chicago Sky also deserve a lot of love. The defending champions have won their last three games, beating the Phoenix Mercury, Atlanta Dream, and Washington Mystics.

The return of Kahleah Copper from her overseas commitments was a shot in the arm for Chicago, which started the season at 4-3. Copper just needed six games to emerge as the team’s top scorer with 13.8 points per game. Veteran Candace Parker also hasn’t missed a step, consistently showing her all-around game to always give the Sky a fighting chance. 

Chicago is also getting a ton of firepower from its bench. The role players have stepped up big time and they’ll be needed as the Sky hope for another deep playoff run. Azura Stevens is excelling in her role as a backup forward with the ability to play alongside Parker or Emma Meesseman. 

Dana Evans, meanwhile, is making the most out of her playing time. From averaging 3.9 points in just 8.6 minutes a season ago, she’s putting up nearly nine points per game in 18.3 minutes. Then there’s 31-year-old rookie Rebekah Gardner whose versatility has become an asset for the squad. 

A good challenge for the Sky is their upcoming game against the Sun on Saturday. 

Big-time ballers

The Aces guards have probably benefited the most from the change of playing style in Las Vegas. Under the leadership of Becky Hammon, they’ve put an emphasis on running the floor and shooting 3s. It’s not a coincidence that Kelsey Plum and Jackie Young are having career seasons. 

Plum is second in the league in scoring with 19.8 points per game while shooting 44.8 percent from the field and a scorching 3-point percentage of 46. She’s also dishing six assists and pulling down 3.5 rebounds. Save for her field goal shooting, she’s putting up career numbers across the board. Now in her fifth year, this is Plum’s first season as part of the starting lineup. 

Young is also playing with renewed confidence with 19.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 1.6 steals. She is shooting the lights out with a 54 percent clip from the field, including 45.7 from downtown. Hopefully, her recent ankle injury won’t derail her impressive season. 

Watch out for… 

Fans can now start voting for their favorite players to send them to the 2022 AT&T WNBA All-Star Game in Chicago. 

Vote for the All-Stars by visiting WNBA.com, the WNBA App, and Twitter. Two captains - the top two vote-getters - will draft their rosters from a pool of reserves selected by the coaches.