Video Credit: WNBA

FSM Essential Recap: Aces vs. Sun – Game 24

Franchise Sports Media

Las Vegas Aces (17-7) | Connecticut Sun (18-6)



After a week between games, the Aces returned to action on Tuesday evening to face the Connecticut Sun for the third time. Offense was hard to come by from the opening tip and the Sun forced Vegas into a season-low 62 points, which eclipsed their previous season-low of 65 points during the first meeting between the teams.




For the second game in a row, Riquna Williams provided an early boost for the Aces to begin the game by scoring seven of the team’s first 11 points. Chelsea Gray and Liz Cambage chipped in with a basket each, but the Aces remained quiet, otherwise, on the offensive end. The Sun were powered in the early going by All-Stars DeWanna Bonner and Jonquel Jones, before Jasmine Thomas, Kaila Charles, and Briann January helped key a 13-4 run over the final minutes of the quarter. Thomas’ floater to beat the first-quarter buzzer put the Sun on top 19-15 going into the second.

The second quarter started with Dearica Hamby scoring on back-to-back possessions at the rim — once via an offensive rebound, and the other resulting from a full sprint to the rim in transition. Vegas’ 5-0 start through the first three minutes of the quarter came to a halt when January drained an uncontested three from the left wing, which was then followed by Brionna Jones’ mid-range jumper to regain the lead for Connecticut. A’ja Wilson’s free-throw line jumper at the 4:12 mark gave her her first two points of the game after starting 0-5 from the floor. But with every step closer that Aces took in trimming the deficit, Briann January had an answer on the other end. She tallied 12 points in the first half alone, helping extend the Sun lead to eight at the half.

Aces vs Sun
Photo Credit: WNBA

Las Vegas turned the ball over on its first two possessions of the half, which Connecticut turned into three-point plays each time. In less than a minute of play, the Aces’ deficit grew from eight to 14. Chelsea Gray and Liz Cambage responded with consecutive threes to dwindle it back down to eight before Briann January answered with a two-pointer off the dribble, adding to her season-best scoring performance. Connecticut couldn’t quite pull away, though, thanks to the individual efforts of Hamby to keep the game close.

Kelsey Plum rebounded a Brionna Thomas missed free-throw and raced down the court to earn an and-one while narrowing the Sun lead to just four points before the end of the third quarter.

The defensive struggle hit its peak to begin the final frame. Both teams struggled to find points through the first few minutes, with DeWanna Bonner’s four points being the only source of scoring three minutes in. Chelsea Gray finally got the Aces on the board with just over six minutes remaining in the quarter, but from there, Bonner took control of the game. She nailed a second DEEP three-pointer and then went onto stuff A’ja Wilson twice in the post. There was just no catching up from that point and Connecticut took their third victory of the season over Las Vegas, winning 76-62.




Playing from behind – If there’s a silver lining to take away from this game, it’s that the Aces don’t ever give in. Vegas battled back from a large deficit for the third game in a row, but ultimately didn’t have enough to climb all the way back. Maybe this will serve as a wake-up call going forward, showing the team that they can’t always flip the switch.




Spacing – The Aces tend to stick to their strategy of playing inside-out. It’s a perfectly good strategy as Wilson and Cambage are amongst the league’s most dominant with their backs to the basket. However, Connecticut’s length and activity in the paint made it tough on both players, and the Sun were able to mostly ignore Jackie Young while sending extra bodies to the paint. In a matchup like this, a more modern approach could be beneficial — limiting the Wilson-Cambage minutes and opting for more spacing and shooting.

Dealing with length – Connecticut is one of the league’s best defensive teams due to the length and physicality at almost every possession, and it was on full display against the Aces. Vegas struggled largely and were forced into some uncharacteristic turnovers (14 total). More significantly, the Aces didn’t convert when they were able to put shots up, shooting just 39.7 percent from the floor.



The Aces continue on with their road trip and will face the Atlanta Dream on Thursday, August 3rd. Tune into  NBATV at 4:00 p.m. to follow the action live, and remember to check back for the next recap.

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-Cole Huff– Franchise Sports Media

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