Gregg Popovich contacts Becky Hammon during Aces losing streak

After the Las Vegas Aces lost three straight games for the first time in five years, coach Becky Hammon got a call.

It was her former boss, San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.

“It’s funny because we always had a joke in San Antonio that if we lost, no one would text and no one would call,” Hammon said. “So I picked up the phone and he said, ‘Hello, how are you? I’m just calling to make you laugh because I know no one is calling.'”

Hammon played sixteen seasons in the WNBA, the last eight with the former San Antonio Stars. After her retirement, she joined Popovich’s staff as an assistant coach. After eight years coaching in the NBA, she became head coach of the Aces – the WNBA franchise that left San Antonio in 2018 and moved to Las Vegas.

Hammon led the Aces to WNBA titles in her first two seasons with Las Vegas. But the Aces, hampered by the absence of point guard Chelsea Gray after an early-season injury, were 6-5 against the New York Liberty on Saturday afternoon.

From June 7 to 11, the Aces lost to the Seattle Storm, Los Angeles Sparks and Minnesota Lynx, the franchise’s first three-game losing streak since August 23 to 27, 2019, when Bill Laimbeer was head coach. According to Elias Sports Bureau, it was the second-longest stretch in WNBA history between three-game losing streaks in a single season (143 games). The longest streak of such games was for the Houston Comets – 224 games – from the WNBA’s launch in 1997 to 2003.

“We’re not a very good team right now, that’s just the reality. But we know we can get better. I still have a lot of confidence in this baseball club,” Hammon said Tuesday after the loss to Minnesota.

The Aces bounced back with a 103-99 victory over the Phoenix Mercury on Thursday before taking on the Liberty. Hammon said Popovich’s call helped.

“He made me laugh; mission accomplished,” she said. “It’s true, no one calls you when you’re doing bad. So that was the point of his call. Just to see where I was mentally. And then we were just talking about some different buttons that we had to push. He is always a phone call away, I know.”