Before the Washington Mystics clinched a playoff berth with a win over the Phoenix Mercury on Tuesday, they received an additional win thanks to the Las Vegas Aces forfeiting their game against Washington that was supposed to be played Aug 3. The game was cancelled after the Aces traveled nearly 26 hours from Las Vegas to D.C. via Dallas.
The traveling issues started for the Aces when their commercial flight was cancelled creating chaos and a long day of being stuck in an airport, going through the hassles of getting to Washington before their game. The WNBA pushed the start of the game back one hour from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. to help matters, however, after the team did not arrive to the city until well after 3 p.m. the team decided they were not going to risk health by playing the game.
The Aces' commercial flight to D.C. was cancelled resulting in 26 hours of delays and waiting at an airport. They got into D.C. at 3:45 p.m. for a 7 p.m. tip-off. The first bus to the game was scheduled to leave at 4:45 p.m. No NBA team would have been forced to play that game. https://t.co/VR5LlGTSQa
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) August 8, 2018
Unfortunately, the WNBA cited in their statement that the Aces “failed to appear for the game.”
Full statement on tonight's canceled game in Washington. 👇 pic.twitter.com/SBCypeCav8
— Las Vegas Aces ♦️♠️ (@LVAces) August 4, 2018
The union and team officials worked to a resolution that dropped the Aces to 12-16 after the decision and boosted the Mystics record to 17-11. Washington beat Phoenix 103-98 to improve to 18-11 and moved them into third place in the WNBA standings, clinching a playoff berth in the process. The Aces lost to Atlanta on Tuesday night, dropping them to 12-17 and pushing them back to 2.5 games behind Dallas for the eighth and final playoff spot with five games remaining for them.
Technically, the Aces failed to show to the game, but given the circumstances that led to their decision it’s beyond incredible that the situation got to the point of them forfeiting the game. WNBA teams, for a number of reasons, fly commercial rather than charter like the NBA does. And they are at the mercy of the airliners that goes beyond the normal weather issues with flying. Sure, all the details are not known for those who were not directly involved, but this somehow still falls back on the league’s office.
There are no contingency plans that could have avoided this issue? There are questions that may never be answered, but this certainly is a black-eye for the league no matter who is blame. And for a league still fighting for respectability from critics.