The Las Vegas Aces are sitting on an 8-5 record and third in the WNBA standings behind the Connecticut Sun and Washington Mystics, who are second and first, respectively. The Aces have been on a roll lately, proving why they were an early favorite to win it all.
But the Aces didn’t quite start the season on an ideal note: They were 4-4 after their first eight games as the team struggled to find an identity due to the arrival of Liz Cambage to what was A’Ja Wilson’s floor. Vegas quickly discovered that to have a solid season and a chance to win the championship the needed high energy from its franchise player.
But the rest of the team also needed to step up if Wilson was having a rough night. As the season has progressed, every player — from starters to the second unit — holds a key role to this team’s success. An identity is emerging around floor spacing, bully ball, physical defense and fast breaks. But one player people don’t talk enough about in the Aces’ success is Sydney Colson, who is a spark plug for this team.
Without being a star player, sixth woman or go-to player for the Aces. she still finds ways to impact the game.
Colson is averaging 3.1 points, 2.3 assists and 1.2 steals per game while shooting 90 percent from the charity stripe. The numbers may not stand out but her impact oftentimes flies under the radar because she doesn’t score 30 points per night or average a double-double. But she impacts the team by providing energy, encouraging her teammates and staying ready.
Before the Aces come out of the tunnel, Colson leads a chant or song for the team to follow. These chants help the team relax, come together and get into the zone. Not to mention, they allow the team to have fun together.
In June, Colson missed time due to a concussion but she still managed to inspire and uplift her team by leading the chants and being the biggest supporter on the sideline.
Some players struggle to have an impact on the game when they aren’t getting a lot of playing time or their role is changing on a game-to-game basis. But not Colson. Aces coach Bill Laimbeer trusts Colson because she is a gritty defender, veteran presence and reliable playmaker. Lately, her minutes have started to increase and she has been given opportunities to help close games.
The Aces can get sloppy on offense or struggle to get into their sets but Colson helps restart the offense and keeps the team calm. Also, if Kelsey Plum or Kayla McBride are struggling, Laimbeer inserts Colson to change the tempo of the game.
As the season progresses, the Aces’ depth will help them in close game situations or if the team faces foul trouble. Colson’s energy and tenacity from the sidelines easily transfers to the floor where she displays keen court vision and competitiveness.
Colson is in another zone when on the court and it rubs off on the rest of the players. She makes the extra pass, dives for loose balls and flies around on defense. She also calls out screens, which is why Las Vegas players rarely get blown up on screens.
Sugar Rodgers and Colson have been splitting minutes at the backup guard slot but sometimes they play together as well. But Colson typically is the second floor general that helps piece everything together while Rodgers is looking to score off the ball.
It’s not always about who starts the game. Sometimes, the most important thing is who finishes. Colson’s positive energy, leadership, style of play and selflessness continue to rub off on the Aces. She may not dominate the headlines but her work ethic behind the scenes is just as important.
The Las Vegas Aces host the first-place Washington Mystics tonight, Friday, July 5, at 10:30 p.m. ET. Watch on League Pass, MYLV TV or Monumental.