The Connecticut Sun have been at their best when the stakes have been the highest through the postseason and will need to continue that trend when they face the Las Vegas Aces on Sunday afternoon in Game 4 of the best-of-five WNBA Finals in Uncasville, Conn.
The Aces, with wins at home in Games 1 and 2, own a 2-1 lead in the series and can earn their first league championship with a victory on the road on Sunday. The Sun forced Sunday’s game with a dominating 105-76 win at home on Thursday but still have their collective backs firmly against the wall.
Game 5, if necessary, will be in Las Vegas on Tuesday.
Connecticut rode a historic performance by Alyssa Thomas to garner Thursday’s win. Thomas produced 16 points, 15 rebounds and 11 assists in the victory, becoming the first player in WNBA Finals history to record a triple-double.
Six players scored in double figures for Connecticut in Thursday’s win, with Jonquel Jones leading the way with 20 points, DeWanna Bonner adding 18, Natisha Hiedeman hitting for 14, DiJonai Carrington scoring 12 and Courtney Williams tallying 11.
The Sun are now 4-0 in elimination games during their postseason run, beating Dallas on the road to win their first-round series and outlasting Chicago in Game 4 and Game 5 in the semifinals to earn a spot in the Finals.
“(We have a) gritty team, and when you tell them they can’t do something, it’s going to make them try even harder and compete like crazy,” Sun head coach and general manager Curt Miller said. “They thrive when their backs are against the wall.”
The Aces are still in the driver’s seat despite Thursday’s loss, in which Jackie Young led all scorers with 22 points. League MVP and Defensive Player of the Year A’ja Wilson added 19 points for Las Vegas while Kelsey Plum and Chelsea Gray notched 17 and 11 points, respectively.
Gray, who’s been the best player for Las Vegas through the first two rounds of the postseason, was held scoreless in the second half on Thursday.
“This game was about physicality and mental toughness, and they smoked us on it — period,” Aces head coach Becky Hammon said about Connecticut after Thursday’s loss. “I’m not going to have to say much. We’ll go back and look at ways we can exploit what they are doing and go throw the ball up.”
–Field Level Media