On Sunday, the Las Vegas Aces cruised to a 97-83 win against the Dallas Wings in Game 1 of the WNBA Semifinals. Despite the victory, sentiment in the Aces locker room was not solely sunshine and rainbows.
According to Aces superstar A'ja Wilson — the 2023 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year Award winner and likely 2023 WNBA MVP — Aces coach Becky Hammon cussed her team out at halftime because she felt like Las Vegas was playing lackluster.
Wilson's report of Hammon's halftime barrage, which was first reported by ESPN, might seem confusing at first. After all, it isn't like the Aces were playing very poorly. They went into halftime with a 49-45 lead and, while perhaps looking sleepy on the defensive end, still appeared to be in control of the game.
Of course, Hammon — who won the 2022 WNBA Finals, 2022 WNBA Coach of the Year Award, and who 31% of WNBA players voted as the top coach they'd want to play for — knows her team better than everyone else, and clearly felt like she needed to wake them up somehow. As any former player would know, there's nothing like a coach cussing at you to get the competitive juices (or fear) flowing.
Hammon's cussing proved to work wonders in reigniting her squad, as the Aces outscored the Wings 26-12 in the third quarter, coasted to the finish line maintaining a comfortable lead, and secured a crucial Game 1 win.
When asked about the halftime pep talk and ensuing third quarter success postgame, Hammon had this to say: "I'd love to bottle that one up. I tell them when they stink, and I tell them when they're great. And they were great."
Indeed they were. Now the Aces' next test comes on Tuesday night, when they'll face the Wings in Vegas for Game 2 of the WNBA Semfinals. Surely Hammon won't want to bring the cussing exhibition back — although she will if she believes her team needs to hear it.
When it comes to her Las Vegas Aces, Hammon knows best.
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