Aces vs Sky

FSM Essential Recap: Aces vs Sun – Finals – Game 1

Franchise Sports Media

Las Vegas Aces (1-0)  |  Connecticut Sun (0-1)


The Las Vegas Aces won their first-ever WNBA Finals game on Sunday afternoon when they outlasted the Connecticut Sun 67-64. A’ja Wilson and Chelsea Gray led the charge for Vegas, as they have done so all postseason long.




Aces vs Sun
Photo Credit: Trisha LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media

A reported 10,135 people filled the seats at Michelob ULTRA Arena inside the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, ready to be on the edge of their seats for Game 1 between the Aces and Sun. Off the bat, mission accomplished for those in the building to support the Aces. Riding the momentum of their semifinals series against the Seattle Storm and some additional rest, Vegas cruised to an early advantage after connecting on its first five shots from the field.

But by the time the early energy calmed and Connecticut absorbed the first few punches, the game had changed by the end of the first quarter.

Chelsea Gray and A’ja Wilson closed the quarter on the bench, which led to Las Vegas‘ offense stalling out and the Sun closing the gap from 10 points to four.  Upon their return to the court, Connecticut head coach Curt Miller had a wrinkle in his game plan — a wrinkle that included putting Alyssa Thomas onto A’ja Wilson, who’d scored 12 points in the opening frame. Thomas used her physicality to make life much more difficult for Wilson and the Las Vegas offense, which struggled its way to nine total second-quarter points by way of zero assists. At the same time, Jonquel Jones found her rhythm and pushed the underdog Sun to a 36-32 halftime lead.


Aces vs Sun
Photo Credit: Trisha LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media

Quarter No. 3 offered a similar vibe. Neck-and-neck, the two finalists went, grinding their way to every bucket as the score remained close. Gray was up to her usual tricks for Vegas, while Connecticut‘s contributions were more balanced. And as we’ve seen so many times throughout these playoffs, a tight finish ensued. The difference this time was that offensive fireworks were few and far between.

How does 10/31 from the field sound? That’s what the two teams mustered up from the floor in the fourth quarter, with each somehow managing their way to five makes. Vegas outscored Connecticut four points to two over the first four minutes and change of the quarter before a Kelsey Plum 3-pointer (her lone made basket of the game) led to two more unanswered Aces buckets to put them up by eight points with under three minutes to play.

But just as the game appeared in the bag, Chelsea Gray turned into a mortal. Unbelievable, right? The Point Gawd, more than once, coughed up the ball after being faced with a Connecticut double-team out of the pick-and-roll. Each turnover saw Alyssa Thomas head the other way for two of the more uncontested baskets she’ll get all series, trimming the Aces‘ lead to three with just over half a minute of gameplay left. Thomas blocked Gray‘s 3-point attempt on the ensuing possession, which set the Sun up for a chance to send it into overtime. But Dewanna Bonner came up short on a drawn-up after-timeout look, and the Aces were able to hold onto a 67-64 Game 1 win.



A’ja Wilson (Aces): 24 PTS, 11 REBS, 4 BLKS

Chelsea Gray (Aces): 21 PTS, 3 ASTS, 2/7 3PT

Alyssa Thomas (Sun): 19 PTS, 11 REBS, 5 ASTS, 3 STLS, 3 BLKS

Jonquel Jones (Sun): 15 PTS, 9 REBS, 2 ASTS, 1/4 3PT


The Aces and Sun will stay in Las Vegas for Game 2 of the Finals, which is set for a 6:00 p.m. PST tip-off on Tuesday, September 13th. ESPN will have the coverage. 

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-Cole Huff– Franchise Sports Media

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