The Las Vegas Aces will make the franchise’s second trip to the WNBA Finals after a 66-63 victory against the Connecticut Sun in Game 5 on Tuesday.
A’ja Wilson made all four of her free throws in the final two minutes, and 9-of-10 through the fourth quarter, for the Aces to regain and lightly pad the lead. The Sun’s DeWanna Bonner missed a game-tying attempt with 1.9 seconds remaining that looked short of the 3-point line if it were good.
It was a one-possession game from the 5:54 mark of the third quarter through to the end. The final quarter was a sloppy conclusion to an intense series and the fatigue showed itself late. Neither team could hit a basket over a four-minute stretch until Alyssa Thomas hit a jumper on an assist from Bonner. It gave the Sun a one-point lead before A’ja Wilson hit her shots.
The WNBA Finals begin Friday night at 7 p.m. ET. The No. 2 seed Seattle Storm have been off since Sunday.
League MVP leads Aces to Finals
Wilson led all scorers with a double-double of 23 points and 11 rebounds in a full 40 minutes on the court. She had four assists and three blocks. Angel McCoughtry scored 20 with three rebounds, three assists and three steals. Carolyn Swords and Danielle Robinson each had 10 rebounds as the Aces won the battle on the boards, 41-36.
The Aces, who trailed 2-1 in the series, kept the Sun to 18 points total in the second half after giving up 30 in the first quarter alone. The No. 1 seeded squad slowly erased a 16-point deficit by midway through the third quarter despite turning the ball over 18 times throughout the contest.
Connecticut, seeded seventh and aiming for its second consecutive Finals berth, was led by Alyssa Thomas’ 22 points and 10 rebounds. She added three assists, one steal and one block. Bonner had 15 points, eight rebounds, six assists, five steals and three blocks. The team struggled from behind the 3-point line, making 3-of-19 attempts as the Aces forced them out of the paint. They also struggled with turnovers, committing 15 and at poor times.
Sun jump out to big early lead
The Sun’s 30 first-quarter points were the most of any team in a quarter this postseason. Alyssa Thomas scored 12 of them.
The Sun scored 30 points in the first quarter. The most points in a quarter by any team this postseason 😳 pic.twitter.com/cDvFqGPI60
— espnW (@espnW) September 30, 2020
By half, Thomas had a full stat line of 14 points, five rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block.
The Sun struggled offensively in the second quarter, making only five field goals. The Aces cut into the lead behind first-half points from McCoughtry to trail by six, 45-39.
Aces erase 16-point deficit in third quarter
After DeWanna Bonner laid in two buckets for a 10-point Sun cushion, the Aces went on a 13-0 run to completely erase the deficit.
Kayla McBride hit a jumper and made the and-1 to start the run, followed by a jumper by Wilson on a McCoughtry assist. McCoughtry hit the next two baskets, the second coming off a Wilson block and persistent Aces rebounding, to come within one.
McBride took the lead back for the first time since 4:23 remained in the first quarter and Wilson added another layup off a bad pass by the Sun that made it 52-49.
Connecticut took the lead back, 54-53, to set up another thrilling fourth quarter in the tightly contested series.
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