Video Credit: WNBA

FSM Essential Recap: Aces vs. Sun – Game 4

Franchise Sports Media

Las Vegas Aces (2-2) | Connecticut Sun (5-0)



For the second time in three days, the Aces played in their home arena and in front of their home crowd, but this time they took on an undefeated Connecticut Sun team. Both teams battled to the end, with the Sun looking sharper and more in sync. Vegas ultimately fell 72-65.




Sunday’s afternoon start went exactly how the undefeated Connecticut Sun could have wanted — they raced out to an 11-2 lead behind an aggressive paint attack from Brionna Jones, who punished the Aces on the offensive glass and drew two quick fouls on Cambage. Las Vegas found their shots out of the mid-range but couldn’t find the bottom of the basket. Sun forward Jonquel Jones got comfortable in the halfcourt offense as she knocked down a bomb from above the break and then went to her patented one-legged mid-range fadeaway. Jackie Young and A’ja Wilson struggled their way to some hard-earned points, but then a string of pick-and-roll turnovers plagued the Vegas offense to close the quarter. Connecticut took an 18-8 lead after one.

Aces vs Sun
Photo Credit: Connecticut Sun

The second quarter was the Chelsea Gray and Dearica Hamby show. Hamby opened the quarter aggressively on offense — making her way to the free-throw line and then getting a shot to fall near the rim. And as usual, she used active hands and anticipation to force the Connecticut Sun into some turnovers before Chelsea Gray entered the game and did the same. Gray used her defense to create much-needed offense — pushing the ball in transition and finding easy baskets for her teammates as well as a few of her own.

The Sun, who only scored two points over the first seven minutes of the quarter, finally crept over 20 points when Jonquel Jones grabbed a miss and put it back in for two. But the story remained the same down the closing minutes of the frame, with Gray and Hamby turning defense into offense; the two finished with 19 of the team’s 25 second-quarter points as the Aces took a 33-27 lead into halftime.

Fouls and missed shots led to a slow start for both teams out of halftime, but with consecutive Aces turnovers combined with Connecticut dominating paint-scoring, the Sun took a 41-39 lead after six minutes of play. Of the players providing a scoring boost for the Sun, Dewanna Bonner got particularly hot in the quarter as she strung together eight quick points. Bonner and Brionna Jones kept up the Connecticut attack as Jones specifically continued to do damage inside the paint. The Aces would get down by as many as 11 before A’ja Wilson was able to find Cambage for a layup and then following up with a turnaround jumper of her own to cut the deficit to 50-43 — where the quarter would end.

Two things got the Aces back into this game through the first minutes of the fourth: defense and playing through Liz Cambage. Cambage, limited offensively to this point, skipped a cross-court pass to the corner finding Destiny Slocum open for three. They went back to her again in the following possessions, and she earned a trip to the line — which she converted, trimming the deficit to two. Both teams traded baskets back and forth, but just when Vegas found momentum, Natisha Hiedeman and Jonquel Jones sunk back-to-back threes, with Hiedeman knocking down a baseline jumper shortly after to push the Sun lead to 60-52.

The Aces came out of a late timeout firing on all cylinders — highlighted by a Gray mid-range jumper, a Riquna Williams three-pointer, and an A’ja Wilson fast-break layup — bringing the game to 67-65 with 48 seconds remaining in the game. But, Dewanna Bonner put the finishing touches on the game — sinking a corner three and two free throws. The Aces fell 72-65.




The Aces lacked energy and were out-competed for the majority of the game, yet they still had a chance to win with under a minute left. Here’s how:

Transition – In what’s becoming a staple of the Aces’ offense, they were able to find success again pushing the ball in transition. They do this frequently when their defense is clicking, which is why their second-quarter offense was so productive — limiting Connecticut to just nine points. 

Second Quarter Defense – Speaking of defense, the second quarter was one of the only reasons why Las Vegas had a chance to win this game. Hamby and Slocum — who coach Laimbeer credits for bringing the energy — led the way with their activity and competitiveness on defense, which led to transition opportunities and success on offense. Chelsea Gray hand a hand in that as well.




Aces vs Sun
Photo Credit: WNBA

Las Vegas knew coming into the game that it would be a battle in which they had to match Connecticut’s physicality — they did not.

Rebounds – The Sun outrebounded Vegas by 18 and snagged 12 offensive rebounds — earning 20 more shot attempts than the Aces.

Turnovers – Coach Laimbeer was disappointed with the team tonight with their lack of energy, and that poor energy translated to some sloppy play. The Aces turned the ball over 14 times — many unforced — which hurt them significantly in a game that was ultimately decided in the final minute.




The Aces travel to Phoenix and will take on the Mercury on Wednesday, May 26th. Tune into CBS Sports Network, or MyLVTV at 7:00 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

Follow Cole on Twitter @ColeHoops

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