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PALMETTO, FL - JULY 30: Riquna Williams #2 of the Los Angeles Sparks drives tothe basket against the Connecticut Sun on July 30, 2020 at Feld Entertainment Center in Palmetto, Florida. (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)
Las Vegas head coach and president of basketball operations Bill Laimbeer prioritizes bench play more than just about anyone in the WNBA, but after the big signing of Chelsea Gray earlier this offseason, his reserve unit was looking pretty sparse. To fill it out, the Aces this week signed Riquna Williams, the 2013 Sixth Woman of the Year and a perennial contender for the award as one of the best reserve scorers in the league.
A league source told The Next that Williams’ deal with Las Vegas is a one-year, unprotected contract worth $91,250.
Williams, who was an unrestricted free agent, joins the Aces after four years in Los Angeles that saw her improve as a three-point shooter, a skill the Aces will likely hope to make use of in 2021.
“(Williams) brings an energy to the court whenever she enters a game, and has become a consistent threat from three-point range over the course of her career,” Laimbeer said in a statement.
Just as she did in Los Angeles, Williams will likely be in position to add to the Aces as a scorer and shooter primarily. While Las Vegas did have a need on the wing, which Williams helps fill, she has demonstrated an ability to play well as a microwave scorer off the bench throughout her career, and joining a championship-caliber Aces roster should provide a similar opportunity.
“I am super excited to play for a coach like Bill because of his style and his history when it comes to the game,” Williams said in a statement. “The Aces have a reputation as a great organization, and a roster full of amazing players that will allow me to continue to grow and learn as a player.”
After losing Kayla McBride, a longtime stalwart on the wing for this franchise since before it came to Las Vegas, in free agency, and adding a more on-ball player in Gray, the Aces needed a player who could affect the game off the ball as a scorer, and with Laimbeer’s track record for using his bench to control games, Williams has a chance to make a real impact.
In a bench unit with third-year play-maker Jackie Young and reigning two-time Sixth Woman of the Year Dearica Hamby, there is a clear role for Williams on this team as the Aces hope to finally break through as champions in 2021.
Williams is the 10th player on the Aces’ roster, with the Liz Cambage signing and the 12th overall pick still to come.