Aces waive Mya Hollingshed and Khayla Pointer

Las Vegas Aces guard Kelsey Plum (10) during media day at Michelob ULTRA Arena on Monday, May 2 ...

On the day the Aces were introducing themselves the Las Vegas media, they proved how tough it is to be part of their club.

The WNBA team made three cuts Monday, waiving 2022 draft picks Mya Hollingshed and Khayla Pointer, along with undrafted rookie free agent Nancy Mulkey ahead of the team’s final week of preparation for the WNBA season.

“This is a very competitive roster to make,” Aces president Nikki Fargas said.

Hollingshed, a 6-foot-3-inch forward from Colorado, was the No. 8 overall pick in this summer’s draft. Pointer, a guard who starred at LSU, was selected No. 13 overall at the beginning of the second round. Hollingshed, Pointer and Mulkey all played in Las Vegas’ preseason exhibition game against the Minnesota Lynx Sunday.

Las Vegas acquired both picks which were used to select Hollingshed and Pointer a day before the draft in a trade which sent the Aces’ first and second round selections for the 2023 WNBA draft to the Lynx. Currently, Las Vegas only has a third-round pick for next year’s draft.

“We feel we’ve made all the right decisions,” general manager Natalie Williams said.

The decision to pick Hollingshed in the first place was unexpected. Few mock drafts had the Colorado forward going in the first round, but the Aces traded up to select her after being intrigued by her shooting ability and athleticism. After a practice April 12, Hollingshed said she was surprised when Las Vegas picked her since her interview with the Aces had been the shortest one she’d done during the draft process.

Fargas said the team wanted more experience as it prepares to pursue a championship. The desire for veterans was part of the decision to waive Pointer, with the Aces choosing to keep Sydney Colson, entering her eighth season in the WNBA, as the team’s backup point guard instead.

Both Williams and Fargas defended the decision to trade up for Hollingshed and Pointer. Williams said there was a chance the team might not have landed Kierstan Bell, the No. 11 pick who is currently on the roster, if they hadn’t traded for No. 8. Fargas thinks both Hollingshed and Pointer have the potential to make another WNBA roster.

“We feel confident in our ability to identify talent,” Fargas said.

Two rookies are currently on the roster. Bell, the former Florida Gulf Coast wing, and second-round pick Aisha Sheppard, a sharp-shooting guard from Virginia Tech, look set to be with the team when they head to Phoenix for the WNBA season opener Friday.

“Nothing is promised,” Sheppard said. “I’m just taking every day as if it’s a tryout until I hear different.”

Contact reporter Andy Yamashita at ayamashita@reviewjournal.com. Follow @ANYamashita on Twitter.