LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Trailing the WNBA-leading Chicago Sky by one game, the Aces will be without standout Dearica Hamby when the two teams meet Thursday at Mandalay Bay’s Michelob Ultra Arena.
Hamby, a starting forward and top defender, suffered a right knee contusion in the second quarter of Tuesday’s 97-90 victory over Atlanta. She left the game after landing awkwardly and did not return.
Hamby won’t play in a game that has playoff significance. On the line is the top seed and home-court advantage for the WNBA playoffs.
The Sky (25-9) and Aces (24-10) have split their two regular-season meetings, with each team winning on the road. The Aces also won a Commissioner’s Cup game that doesn’t count in the league standings.
A victory by the Aces would mean a tie for the top spot with each team having one game remaining. If the two teams finish with identical records, the Aces would get the top seed by virtue of winning two of three in their regular-season matchup. A win by the Sky clinches the top seed.
The Aces have a strong one-two offensive punch with Kelsey Plum averaging 19.9 points, second-best in the league, and A’ja Wilson averaging 19.6. Wilson also is the league’s No. 2 rebounder, averaging 9.5.
Two others, Jackie Young (16.2 points) and Chelsea Gray (13.4 points), also average in double figures.
Chicago counters with perhaps the league’s most balanced offense. Six players average in double figures, lead by Kahleah Copper (15.5) and Candace Parker (13.4). Parker averages 8.6 rebounds.
Each team is 7-3 in its last 10 games.