In Game 1 of the WNBA Finals on Sunday, A’ja Wilson led the Las Vegas Aces with 24 points and 11 rebounds as they defeated the Connecticut Sun 67-64.
The Sun nearly overcame a seven-point deficit with 1:24 remaining when Alyssa Thomas made back-to-back jumpers to bring Connecticut within three, but the Aces were able to hold them off. However, as time ran out, DeWanna Bonners’ desperate three-point try to tie the game failed.
For Las Vegas, Chelsea Gray finished with 21 points, and Jackie Young added 11 as the team won its first WNBA Finals matchup ever. When the squad was playing in San Antonio in 2008, they were swept, and in 2020, they were defeated in three games.
“Coming from being swept and actually getting one,” said Wilson. “Pretty happy about this one. Not going to dwell on it long as we have a really tough Game 2 coming up.”
After blowing a first-quarter lead and letting the Sun take the lead and control the third quarter, the Aces outscored Connecticut 13-3 to end the third quarter and take control of the game’s momentum going into the final frame in front of a raucous crowd of 10,135 people.
Thomas had 19 points and 11 rebounds to lead Connecticut. Brionna Jones scored 12 points off the bench, Natasha Hiedeman added 10 points, and Jonquel Jones added 15.
With the help of Dearica Hamby, who came off the bench just after the midway point of the third quarter, the Aces were able to rally from a six-point deficit to take a two-point lead going into the fourth. Hamby’s contributions included two offensive rebounds, a putback under the basket, two assists, and a steal. Due to a knee injury, Hamby missed the last month of the regular season.
She was only occasionally employed in the final two games of the semi-finals and did not participate in the first round of the playoffs.
Early on, the Aces took control by outscoring their opponents 12-5, with Wilson providing six of those points. As Las Vegas hit 56.3% (9 of 16) from the field in the first quarter, Wilson scored 12 of her points at that time. Connecticut nailed 8 of 18 shots to end the first period (47.6 per cent). The Sun did not try a single free throw during the session, while the Aces were 5 of 7 from the line.
The Sun didn’t waste any time in coming back into the game, scoring the first six points of the second quarter to close the gap to two points before eventually taking the lead at 30-29 after a 13-4 run. The Aces were outscored 21-9 in the second quarter thanks to their terrible 3 for 15 (20 percent) shooting. The Sun nailed 17 of 42 shots (40.4 percent) in the first half and ended 9 of 14 (64.2%) in the quarter.
“We can’t let them get rockin’ and rollin’ like that,” Wilson said.
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