LAS VEGAS—A'ja Wilson, Chelsea Gray and Kelsey Plum provided all the offense Las Vegas needed to move the Aces one win away from the franchise’s first WNBA title.
Wilson had 26 points and 10 rebounds to lead Las Vegas to an 85–71 victory over the Connecticut Sun on Tuesday night in Game 2 of the WNBA Finals.
The Aces had been 0–6 in the Finals before taking the first two games of the series with Connecticut. Las Vegas, which was swept in the championship in 2008 when the franchise was still in San Antonio and also in 2020, will look to secure the title on Thursday night in Connecticut.
“It’s going to take every bit of everybody,” said Gray, who added 21 points. “You can see the stats, it’s the toughness, it’s the little things that will get it done We have been a good road team this year. So we might as well go win on the road.”
Plum rebounded from an awful Game 1 to score 20 points.
“A'ja cussed me out before the game. That’s all I needed,” Plum said. “About time I joined the party. They carried us all week. It’s good to hit some shots, but we have one more.”
After being held to a season-low 67 points in Game 1, the Aces found their offensive prowess to hit 33 of 64 (51.6%) from the floor.
Connecticut, which finished 27 of 64 (42.2%) from the field, had four players in double digits, led by Courtney Williams with 18.
Jonquel Jones also had a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds, Alyssa Thomas finished with 13 points.
Looking to establish an offensive presence early, both teams pushed the pace early, trading buckets to a 10–10 tie until the Aces seized momentum and used an 11–4 run to open a seven-point advantage.
Las Vegas hit 55% (10 of 18) from the floor in the first quarter while the Sun struggled to a 35% clip, hitting just 7 of 20.
The Aces continued to apply offensive pressure in the second, led by Plum, who contributed 11 in the quarter.
“I thought Kelsey’s drives opened us up,” Hammon said. “I mean, the other day we got good looks again from three. We didn’t want to knock them down but you have to believe the worm will turn there eventually. The important thing is we are getting good looks once she gets in there.”
Connecticut was down 14 when coach Curt Miller went big with his lineup, and the Sun responded with a 12–4 run to cut their deficit to six before a Wilson bucket provided the Aces with a 45–37 halftime lead.
“Get to my spots my teammates are putting me in a situation where I’m comfortable,” Wilson said.
But Las Vegas’ offensive balance continued into the third, with five different scorers helping the Aces push the lead to 14, outscoring Connecticut 23–17, taking a 68–54 lead into the final period.
Painting EfficiencyWhile the teams each came away with 34 rebounds, the Aces out-rebounded the Sun 6–2 with offensive boards and had better overall efficiency in the paint by outscoring Connecticut, 46–28.
Let’s Get PhysicalThe third quarter saw both teams with bumps and bruises. Gray and Natisha Hiedeman left the game with twisted ankles early in the third quarter. Gray went back to the locker room but later returned.
Backs Against The WallConnecticut is 3–0 in elimination games in the playoffs so far this season.
Watching The WABC registered the most-viewed WNBA Finals Game 1 in five years, with 555,000 viewers, and a peak viewership of 872,000.
It was an 18% increase over Game 1 of the 2021 WNBA Finals.
By W.G. Ramirez