Aces-Mystics WNBA game canceled shortly before tip-off after flight delay nightmare

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The Las Vegas Aces’ Friday night game on the road against the Washington Mystics has been cancelled, the WNBA announced 44 minutes before it was supposed to tip off. There’s been no official word as to why the game was canceled, if it will be rescheduled or if the Aces forfeited.

According to ESPN’s Mechelle Voepel, the WNBA won’t make that decision on Friday night.

The Aces suffered through several delayed flights in their journey from Vegas to D.C. forcing the team into a sleepless, 24-hour trip to the nation’s capital. WNBA teams fly commercial like you or I rather than flying chartered planes, which explains why they had so much trouble traveling.

The team tried to fly out of Las Vegas at 1:13 p.m. on Thursday for the Friday night game, but saw a series of delays that didn’t end in a cancellation until after 10 p.m. The team flew to Dallas that night and didn’t land until roughly 5 a.m. CT.

Here’s how the team slept in Dallas:

From Dallas, no flights could hold the entire team. Three separate flights took the players, coaches and PR members to D.C. Coach Bill Laimbeer took a separate plane with a layover in Charlotte, the players took another commercial flight, and assistant coach Vickie Johnson and Director of Media Relations John Maxwell took the third and final plane.

Maxwell estimated the team was set to arrive around 2:30 or 3 p.m. ET to Washington, arrive at the hotel by 4 p.m. and have very little time to gather their belongings and prepare for an 8 p.m. ET tip-off.

Mystics Coach Mike Thibault told the Washington Post’s Gene Wang, “I’m really disappointed that the Las Vegas players and organization didn’t come to compete… If you’re there and in the city and can play, you should show up and play.”

Several players from the Aces including Rookie of the Year-favorite A’ja Wilson, All-Star Kayla McBride and former No. 1 pick Kelsey Plum voiced their frustrations on Twitter throughout the duration of their trip.

“Player health is the most important thing,” McBride said on Twitter at 8:42 p.m. Thursday night. Our schedule is already so compact this year. Now you want us to travel all night with a stop and compete? #notToday #notEver”

“Like we have really been here at the airport since 11am,” Wilson said ten minutes later, “and it is now almost 6 pm…..and we are expected to play at a high level tomorrow …”

This game could have serious playoff implications. Las Vegas entered the night 1.5 games behind the Dallas Wings for the final spot in the playoffs with just eight games left in the season.

The Aces will turn around and play another road game on Sunday at 3 p.m. ET in Connecticut.

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