Girls basketball players in Las Vegas inspired by Aces championship, discuss influence on future generations

LAS VEGAS (FOX5) – Young women from Las Vegas shared their feelings about watching their hometown team win the WNBA title.

“I just knew they had to stick together and get through it, like, I knew we had it in the bag! I knew it!”Aliah Jackson, a senior varsity basketball player at Palo Verde High School Las Vegas, said:

“We were all like in front of the TV,”Halle McKnight was another senior varsity team player. “And finally — like finally — when the game was over, we were like, ‘Whew!’ And like, it was fun.”

McKnight’s parents are season ticket holders. Jackson is also an avid fan of the Aces. Both high schoolers told FOX5 that it’s been inspiring to grow their game alongside the Aces.

“Of course going to some of the games that were here, and just seeing how far they have come and then winning the championship,”Jackson.

Their coach, Chris Roussel, said he is pleased to see the recognition women’s basketball is getting, thanks to the Aces.

“I think what the Aces have done has, you know, kind of put more of a spotlight on women’s basketball in the valley,”Roussel.

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Jackson agreed.

“It’s amazing to see because of how much adversity the WNBA women athletes have faced from the beginning,”She said.

Roussel stated that he also looks forward to pointing out the Aces’ success and certain moves on the court as teaching moments.

“As Kelsey Plum got into the lane, and made that jump stop and finished– to kind of– extend the lead to six, like, it’s great to see things that you coach. These women at the professional level do things that you’re kind of trying to teach your young women,”Roussel.

They all told me this will be monumental for getting more girls into the sport of basketball; something that can only be a positive for camaraderie and overall wellness in our valley’s communities.

“The younger generation, they see girls playing basketball and they’re like, ‘I can do that too,’ and so then they become playing basketball, and like, they’ll improve, and I think it’ll just grow like the basketball community altogether,”McKnight said.

Roussel also echoed this sentiment.

“I think it shows the girls what’s possible with hard work and determination,”Roussel.

Jackson stated that it makes the goal to win a championship seem more achievable.

“Definitely shows how relatable they are,”Jackson. “And shows how stuff like this — championships — it seems unreachable to young children young female athletes, but when you see it in your own city, it just seems like a reachable goal.”

Ball Dawgs is a local media outlet that is based in Las Vegas. Its commentators and athletes, led by a former Las Vegas high school basketball player, say the win was historic and monumental.

“It goes in the history books! It’s just like, the first thing you’ll think of: first major championship is a women’s team,”Marq Mosley, Vice President Ball Dawgs. “[Women players in Las Vegas] love the Aces. They always try to go to the Aces games. They love the players; i’s definitely an impact… You have somebody in your backyard you can look up to and be able to model your game after? It will change like the whole prospect of the women’s game.”

He continued, “It’s great for them… we have a championship from our city, like winning our– from our hometown– hometown champions.”

He said he will be at Tuesday’s 5:30 p.m. celebration parade on the Las Vegas Strip, donned in full Aces gear.

“I don’t care how hot it is, I’m out there!”Mosley.

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