BRADENTON, Fla. — Jackie Young and the Las Vegas Aces swung the No. 1 seed in their favor on the final night of the WNBA season.
Las Vegas (18-4) defeated Seattle (18-4) 86-84 on Sunday night to clinch the No. 1 seed in the WNBA playoffs and earn a double bye entering the WNBA postseason beginning on Tuesday.
Dearica Hamby scored a season-high 23 points, along with eight assists and seven boards in the victory over the Storm, alongside 23 points by A’ja Wilson — just named as the Associated Press WNBA Player of the Year.
Former Princeton Community High School Lady Tiger and 2019 WNBA No. 1 overall pick Jackie Young — prior to Las Vegas’ final two games — had been playing the best basketball of her career.
Young had averaged 18.4 points, 5.6 assists, and 5.6 rebounds per game in a five-game stretch ending with a Sept. 10 victory over the Minnesota Lynx, but saw her play dip off a bit in the final two games of the season, while averaging 5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3 assists per game in Las Vegas’ final two games of the season.
While Young’s recent stretch may suggest as disappointing numbers, Young played her role as floor general and sixth woman and turned the ball over just one time (6 to 1 assist-turnover ratio) in those two games.
Fixated in as the No. 1 team in the league, it’s easy to conceive Las Vegas as the best team in the league, but they truly earned the top seed. Las Vegas ended the year on a six-game winning streak, and swept the Storm in the season series.
Las Vegas has a considerable layoff, as their next game won’t be until Sunday, Sept. 20, when the Aces make their playoff debut in the WNBA Semifinals against the lowest advancing seed in a best-of-five series.
It begs to question, could the break in action stall their momentum?
It could. But with three wins, Las Vegas could advance to just the second WNBA Finals appearance in franchise history. And if they’re to make history, Young’s play as a sixth woman may be indicative of just how far the Aces advance.
Last season, Las Vegas advanced to the WNBA Semifinals prior to falling to the Washington Mystics, led by Elena Delle Donne, in four games.
You can watch Young and the Aces make their postseason debut on Sept. 20. The game will be broadcasted at 1 p.m. or 3 p.m. on ESPN or ABC.