A’ja 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 final.
The Aces stopped the late run of the Sun, who nearly erased a seven-point deficit with 1:24 left when Alyssa Thomas hit backhands to drag Connecticut in the third round. But DeWanna Bonners’ desperate three-point attempt to end the game failed when the time expired.
Chelsea Gray finished with 21 points for Las Vegas, while Jackie Young chipped in at 11 as the franchise won the first WNBA Final in franchise history. They were wiped out in 2008 when the team was in San Antonio and lost three games in 2020.
“It comes from being hooked and actually getting one,” says Wilson. “Pretty pleased with the match. Won’t be too concerned about it as long as we have a really tough Match 2 coming up.”
After squandering the lead in the first quarter and allowing the Sun to control the second and build momentum in the third, the Aces overcame Connecticut 13-3 to finish the third quarter and gain momentum. for the final stage before the rally sold out a frantic record out of 10,135.
Thomas led Connecticut with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Jonquel Jones added 15 points, Brionna Jones came on from the bench with 12 points and Natasha Hiedeman contributed with 10 points.
Dearica Hamby came on from the bench slightly above the third half and provided an immediate spark for the Aces with a pair of offensive rebounds, a put back under the basket, two assists and a steal, as the Aces tried their way back to turn a six-point deficit into a two-point lead to enter the final period. Hamby missed the final month of the season with a knee injury.
She did not compete in the first round of the knockout round and was of little use in the final two matches of the semi-finals.
The Aces set the tone early by taking a 12-5 lead with Wilson taking the lead by scoring their six points. Wilson scored 12 points in the first quarter, when Las Vegas shot 56.3% (9 out of 16) from the floor. Connecticut ended the quarter opening 8/18 (47.6%). While Ace got 5/7 from the free throw line, Sun didn’t have a single shot this time around.
The Sun wasted no time getting back into the game, opening the second half by scoring the first six points to pull in the second round, and eventually taking a one point lead with a 30-29 scoreline after 13-4. The Aces shot a fearsome 3 for 15 (20 pe cents) and were beaten 21-9 in the second quarter. The Sun hit 9/14 (64.2%) in the quarter and hit 17 out of 42 (40.4%) in the first half.
“We couldn’t let them spin and roll around like that,” Wilson said.