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FSM Essential Recap: Aces vs. Sun – Game 8

Franchise Sports Media

Las Vegas Aces (5-3) | Connecticut Sun (7-2)

 

 

The Las Vegas Aces battled hard in their second contest against the Connecticut Sun, but late turnovers and execution ultimately plagued the Aces. They fell to the Sun, once again, by the score of 74-67.

 

RECAP:

 

Nine days ago, the Aces battled the Sun at Michelob Ultra Arena and came out extremely flat. Coach Bill Laimbeer criticized his team for lack of energy as they were thoroughly outrebounded by the physical Sun frontcourt. The energy was much better this time around, but some of the same issues remained. After Liz Cambage got Vegas out to a 2-0 lead, the Aces would begin to turn the ball over and allow Connecticut to get to work on the offensive glass. Yet, Cambage kept the Aces in the mix as she operated out of the post — scoring twice over the shorter Brionna Jones and then connecting with a cutting Jackie Young for an uncontested layup. Connecticut forward Jonquel Jones was equally as good for the Sun. She scored in a variety of ways offensively and played great defense on the other end, which helped give the Sun a 17-10 lead. Dearica Hamby entered for the Aces and immediately got to the basket for consecutive layups to trim the deficit to three points. A Natisha Hiedeman floater as over Destiny Slocum gave the Sun a 19-14 as the clock expired.

Aces vs Sun
Photo Credit: Las Vegas Aces

A defensive battle broke out during the second frame, and no player on either team could quite figure out how to take the lid off the rim. Hamby scored a transition layup, and Cambage followed it with a mid-range jumper. The Sun’s Brionna Jones would knock down a shot on the other end, but both teams remained pretty quiet in terms of scoring. Cambage gave the Aces a 22-21 lead when she hit yet another middy, but that lead was short-lived as the Sun followed it up with a quick 8-0. The run, sparked by three straight Vegas turnovers, gave Connecticut a seven-point lead with 2:34 to play. Cambage and Chelsea Gray each notched four points and brung the deficit to just three points at the half. Connecticut led 33-30.

Vegas opened the half with a double-whammy — a turnover for them and an offensive rebound for Connecticut, which would help the Sun extend their lead. Fortunately for the Aces, A’ja Wilson found her rhythm and scored on back-to-back possessions before making her way to the free-throw line to score points nine and ten on the game. From there, another defensive struggle broke out as both teams grew cold. Liz Cambage re-established herself inside, though, and deep-sealed her way into three post buckets. Connecticut had no answer for her. Beatrice Mompremier hit a short two-pointer to bump the Sun lead to 52-48, heading into the fourth quarter.

Wilson scored four quick points, and Cambage chipped in two of her own to give Vegas an early 54-52 lead in the quarter. Cambage kept on scoring down in the paint, but Jonquel Jones turned up her production down the stretch. She knocked down a three-pointer and converted on multiple trips to the free-throw line. Meanwhile, the Aces got sloppy with the ball in key moments and turned the ball over on multiple occasions — one of the things that led them to come up short in their previous loss to Connecticut. Late free throws from the Sun put the game out of reach, and Connecticut dribbled out the clock for a 74-67 victory over the Aces.

 

POSITIVES:

 

Moral victories are often frowned upon at the highest levels of competition, especially for teams who are usually good enough to win each game. Yet, the Aces did some good things last night despite coming up short.

Defense – Add another one to the growing list of successful defensive games for the Aces. They forced the Sun into 40% shooting from the field, 23.5% from three, and made Connecticut turn the ball over 15 times. 

Offensive Rebounds – Eight offensive rebounds were grabbed by the Sun, and despite it being only three fewer than the 11 that Connecticut grabbed when the two teams last matched, it was an improvement for Vegas

 

NEGATIVES:

 

Some of the same things that caused Las Vegas to lose last game to Connecticut were the same things that held them back during last night’s loss.

Three-Pointers – Zero. That’s how many three-pointers Vegas made during this game. It’s hard to imagine in today’s game that a team fails to make a single three-pointer, but when you realize that they only had five attempts, you begin to understand. Both of those numbers need to increase regardless of how their inside scoring is producing.

Turnovers – Connecticut scored 74 points in this game, and 23 of them were from Vegas turnovers. Even though 13 turnovers wasn’t awful, the timing of them was quite bad. Vegas failed to execute offensively for parts of the fourth quarter, and it really hurt them. When you piece together all of the reasons why the Aces couldn’t get over the hump, turnovers are a big part of it.

 

 

 

The Aces continue on with their road trip and will face the New York Liberty in Brooklyn on Thursday, June 3rd. Tune into  MyLVTV 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

Follow Cole on Twitter @ColeHoops

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