Kiah Stokes Signing Caps Off Busy Week for the Aces

By: Josh Kim
Posted: July 3, 2021

(New York Liberty Twitter)

Aces Add Insurance with Kiah Stokes Signing

Just two days after being waived by the New York Liberty, verteran centre Kiah Stokes has found a new home in the WNBA, joining a dynamic duo of bigs in Las Vegas. The signing, which brings both depth and stability for the Aces, capped off a wild week for the 12-4 Aces, who march on as one of the best teams in the WNBA.

The Iowa-native is a six-year veteran and was the former 11th overall pick in the 2015 WNBA Draft. Capturing WNBA All-Rookie Team honours the same year, Stokes is New York’s franchise leader in blocked shots (195) and averaged 5.0 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.3 blocks, and 21.4 minutes of action across her six seasons in the Big Apple.

“We assessed our roster and we tried to figure out what gave us the best opportunity going forward, both for injury protection and defensively” said head coach Bill Laimbeer, prior to the Aces tipoff against the Los Angeles Sparks. 

“We really like JiSu Park but she’s only 22 years old and she has some growing to do. This gives us an insurance policy across the board and I’m sure she’s going to contribute in a big way down the stretch for us.

(Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports)

“Bill [Laimbeer] was my first coach in the league so there’s a lot of trust there” Stokes said postgame after being asked what her first reactions were like after signing with the Aces. “I’m looking forward to competing for a ring. The Aces are one of the best teams in the league and the fact that Bill reached out and wanted me to play on his team again is incredible”

In nine games this season with the Liberty, Stokes averaged 1.2 points and 4.2 rebounds in 15 minutes of action per game. 

Aces Stacking the Deck at WNBA All-Star Game

I told you this week was busy. 

Four Aces will be taking the floor when the 2021 WNBA All-Star Game takes centre stage in Las Vegas. Dearica Hamby, A’ja Wilson, Liz Cambage, and Chelsea Gray were all named to the All-Star team earlier this week. Hamby and Cambage will be teammates against Wilson and Gray as the WNBA All-Stars will be taking on Team USA’s National Team.

Dearica Hamby will be making her debut at the WNBA’s All-Star festivities, as the tw0-time reigning WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year has finally earned her first nomination. Being one of six Aces currently averaging double-figures in scoring (11.2 ppg), Hamby has done so coming off the bench, making her offensive accomplishments all the more impressive.

A’ja Wilson, unsurprisingly, heads back to the All-Star stage for the third time. A rookie on the U.S. Olympic team, the reigning league MVP and All-WNBA First Team selection captained her own team at the 2019 All-Star game. She’ll look to one-up her performance from a year ago (defeating opposing captain Elena Delle Donne) on July 14th.

Returning to the All-Star team for the fourth time, Liz Cambage has continued to play an instrumental role in her team’s success. Averaging nearly 15 points per game along with 9.1 rebounds and 1.8 blocks has been a primary reason behind Vegas leading the league in scoring. 

Ethan Miller / Getty Images

Heading to the All-Star game for the fourth consecutive time, Chelsea Gray has been a standout with the Aces ever since departing the Los Angeles Sparks organization. Averaging a career-high 6.5 rebounds, Gray’s tenacity at both ends of the floor has been an efficient compliment to the Aces offensive structure. 

The All-Star game is set for July 14th. For the full roster announcements and more information, find the league’s official announcement here.

Joyner Holmes Waived by the Aces

With this past Monday being the league deadline for waiving players before their contracts became guaranteed for the rest of the season, the Las Vegas Aces waived Joyner Holmes. 

(Las Vegas Aces/Twitter)

Holmes, who was drafted by the Seattle Storm 19th overall in 2020, was waived by Seattle in May of that year and signed with the New York Liberty the following month. Signing with the Aces in May of this year, Holmes didn’t seem to carve out much of a role in Vegas, seeing game action just five times.

For more of Josh’s WNBA/NWHL coverage, check out their author page, follow him on Twitter, and check out his website.

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