Gregg Popovich reaches out to Becky Hammon during Aces' losing streak

Becky Hammon was part of Gregg Popovich's coaching staff before coaching the Las Vegas Aces. David Becker/NBAE via Getty Images

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

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

"It's funny because we always had an ongoing joke in San Antonio [that] when we would lose, nobody would text, nobody would call," Hammon said. "So I picked up the phone and he's like, 'Hi, how you doing? Just calling to make you laugh, because I know nobody's calling.'"

Hammon played 16 seasons in the WNBA, the last eight of them with the former San Antonio Stars. She joined Popovich's staff as an assistant coach after her retirement. After eight years of coaching in the NBA, she became the head coach for the Aces -- the WNBA franchise that left San Antonio in 2018 and moved to Las Vegas.

Hammon guided the Aces to WNBA titles in her first two seasons with Las Vegas. But the Aces, who have been hampered by the absence of point guard Chelsea Gray after an early-season injury, are now 6-6 after a 90-82 loss to theNew York Liberty on Sunday.

From June 7-11, the Aces lost to the Seattle Storm, Los Angeles Sparks and Minnesota Lynx, the franchise's first three-game losing streak since Aug. 23-27, 2019, when Bill Laimbeer was head coach. It was the second-longest span in WNBA history between single-season three-game losing streaks -- 143 games -- according to Elias Sports Bureau. The longest such streak was by the Houston Comets -- 224 games -- from the launch of the WNBA in 1997 to 2003.

"We're not a very good team right now, that's just reality. But we know we can get better. I still have a lot of belief in this ballclub," Hammon said after the loss to Minnesota on Tuesday.

The Aces bounced back with a 103-99 win over the Phoenix Mercury on Thursday before falling to the Liberty. Hammon said the Aces have a lot of work ahead of them to improve, but Popovich's phone call helped.

"He made me laugh; mission accomplished," she said. "It's true, nobody calls you when you're doing terrible. So that was the point of his call. Just to check on where I was mentally. And then we just talked about some different buttons to push. He's always a phone call away, I know."