Aces win game 1 | News, Sports, Jobs


AP Photo Las Vegas Aces forward A’ja Wilson (22) posted for a shot over Connecticut Sun center Brionna Jones in Game 1 of a WNBA basketball final playoff series on Sunday , in Las Vegas.

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A’ja Wilson remembers what it was like to be swept in the WNBA Finals two years ago and didn’t like it.

On Sunday, she made sure neither she nor her teammates would feel that way this season.

Wilson had 24 points and 11 rebounds and the Las Vegas Aces beat the Connecticut Sun 67-64 on Sunday in Game 1 of the WNBA Finals.

“In the bubble, we were just happy to be there; and also happy to leave,” said Wilson. “Now in the moment it’s like okay, we know that feeling. It sucks getting swept away, it’s the worst thing ever. It’s the chip on your shoulder, it’s the fire, that’s the grind you want to say, ‘I don’t want to get swept anymore. I don’t even want to do a gentleman sweep. You want to go out there and play for your teammates because you felt what you felt in 2020 – and you hate it.

The Aces dodged a late run from the Sun, who nearly erased a seven-point deficit with 1:24 left when Alyssa Thomas hit back-to-back shots to pull Connecticut within three. But DeWanna Bonner’s desperate 3-point attempt to tie the game failed when time ran out.

Chelsea Gray finished with 21 points for Las Vegas, while Jackie Young added 11 as the franchise won its first WNBA Finals game in franchise history. They were also swept in 2008 when the team was in San Antonio.

After squandering a lead in the first quarter and allowing the Sun to control the second and build momentum into the third, the Aces beat Connecticut 13-3 to close out the third quarter and build momentum for the final period. before a frenetic sell-out record. 10,135.

Thomas led Connecticut with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Jonquel Jones added 15 points, Brionna Jones came off the bench to score 12 and Natasha Hiedeman contributed with 10.

On Saturday at media day, Las Vegas Aces coach Becky Hammon said she wasn’t sure she was ready to let Dearica Hamby play her physical game after missing the final month of the season. regular due to a knee injury, missing the first round of the playoffs. , then used sparingly in the last two games of the semi-finals.

But when Hamby came off the bench with 4:33 left in the third quarter, the two-time sixth woman of the year immediately provided a spark for the Aces.

“She was phenomenal, she was ready to go” Hamon said. “I just got to the point where I was like, my biggest, baddest beast is sitting over there. I just have to throw it away. They want to play a tough game – that’s my girl.

And Hamby delivered, grabbed three rebounds – two touchdowns on the offensive end – one under the basket, two assists and a steal.

With Hamby in the game, the Aces clawed their way back to turn a six-point deficit into a two-point lead heading into the final period.

“I just want to do whatever it takes to win. If that means playing zero minutes, if that means playing 10 minutes and playing as hard as I can, I want to do that,” said Hamby, who was there for 10:47 a.m. “I thought I could filter well and just put a bit more body on (Thomas), just be physically aggressive. I felt like we missed it a bit, just to bring some physics.

“I like that kind of style of basketball. I think the crowd, to come back and feel so loved and to know that I was kinda missing out, I think that gave me a little bit more motivation.

The Aces set the tone early, hitting 56.3% (9 of 16) of their shots and took a 25-17 lead after one quarter. The Sun wasted no time getting back into the game, scoring the first six points in the second and outscored Las Vegas 21-9 to take a four-point halftime lead.

“In the second half of that third quarter, they started making some tough shots and we couldn’t find any kind of offensive rhythm, and missed some shots that we were certainly capable of, forced shots and stalled by their defence, Sun’s trainer Curt Miller said.

COURT CLUB

Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Shea Theodore, Miami Heat goaltender Kyle Lowry, Memphis Grizzlies goaltender Ja Morant, free agent DeMarcus Cousins ​​and Los Angeles Clippers coach Ty Lue were in attendance for Game 1 .

EXHIBITION, huh?

Commissioner Cathy Engelbert announced at her pre-game press conference that the WNBA will host a pre-season exhibition game in Canada next year in hopes of continuing to raise awareness of the league at home. global scale.

This will be the first time since 2011 that the WNBA will play an international game.

NEXT

The teams will play Game 2 in Las Vegas on Tuesday.



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