Brittney Griner-less Phoenix Mercury fall to Aces in season opener
PHOENIX (AP) — Dearica Hamby scored 24 points and the Las Vegas Aces won in Becky Hammon’s first game as coach, beating the short-handed Phoenix Mercury 106-88 on Friday night to open the WNBA season.
Phoenix was without Brittney Griner as she nears the three-month mark of her detention in Russia with no timetable for her release.
Hammon replaced Bill Laimbeer with the Aces after serving as an assistant coach for the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs since 2014.
Kelsey Plum added 20 points, six rebounds and seven assists, Jackie Young also had 20 points, A’ja Wilson finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds and Chelsea Gray had 11 points and reached 1,000 career assists.
Skylar Diggins-Smith scored 12 of her 25 points in the third quarter for Phoenix. Shey Peddy had 14 of her 16 in the fourth, Tina Charles scored 15 points and Sophie Cunningham had 12.
Diana Taurasi was held to nine points on 3-of-11 shooting.
Las Vegas led 54-32 at the half.
The Aces shot 21 of 35 in the opening 20 minutes and finished at 58.2%.
The Mercury host the Seattle Storm from Footprint Center on Wednesday night at 7 p.m.