Aces Win First Ever Championship Beating the Sun 78-71

Holding up the WNBA Finals Championship Trophy loud and proud is the Las Vegas Aces A’ja Wilson (in sunglasses). As the Aces defeat the Connecticut Sun at Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut in game 4 on Sun Sep 18, 2022 (AP News photo)

Aces Win First Ever Championship Beating the Sun 78-71

By Barbara Mason

The Las Vegas Aces (3-1) took the championship series against the Connecticut Sun (1-3) going in game four Sunday afternoon at Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut 78-71 on Sunday. To review the Aces won game one barely squeaking past the Sun 67-64. They went onto win game two 85-71 to take a 2-0 series lead. The Sun came roaring back in game three and trounced the Aces 105-76.

Game four turned into a very close game much like the first game of this series. Vegas had a four point lead after the first quarter and at the half led by two points 30-28.

After three quarters the Aces led by four points 53-49. The Sun were unable to stifle the Las Vegas offense as they did in game three. The Aces were able to hold onto the lead in fact extend their lead in the fourth quarter. The final was 78-71 and the Las Vegas Aces had won their first WNBA Championship.

The Aces held off several rallies by the Sun. Both of these teams were looking for a first time championship trophy but it was Las Vegas that prevailed.

Between the coaching excellence of Becky Hammond and the starting line-up of super stars, that made all the difference. While the Aces tore through offensive records this season it was the defense that Hammond set her sites on.

She wanted to see some improvement and that’s what we all saw. Vast improvement on the defensive side of the ball for the Aces was one of the turning points in this game. Defense is the strength of the Connecticut Sun in fact it was what got the Sun past the Sky in the playoffs but they couldn’t handle the offensive excellence of Las Vegas.

The starting line-up for the Aces was excellent in this game. A’Ja Wilson finished with 14 rebounds and 11 points. The high score for Las Vegas was Chelsea Gray with 20 points. Kelsey Plum came away with 15 and Jackie Young with 13. Off the bench Riquna Williams had 17 points in 22 minutes in a brilliant performance. Both Plum and Williams made key shots in the final minute of the game to put the Sun away.

Sun Deny Las Vegas A Win In Game Three 105-76

Sun Deny Las Vegas A Win In Game Three 105-76

Connecticut Sun’s Alyssa Thomas reacts during the first half in Game 3 of a WNBA basketball final playoff series against the Las Vegas Aces, Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022, in Uncasville, Conn.

By Barbara Mason

After a close game Sunday followed by domination in game two on Tuesday the Las Vegas Aces lead the Connecticut Sun 2-0 in the WNBA finals. Thursday night they were looking to take game three and win their first ever WNBA title it was not to be as the Sun upended the Aces 105-76 in Connecticut.

Mid-way through the first quarter the Aces seemed to have the game in control. With five minutes left in the first quarter, the Sun went to work. By the end of the quarter Connecticut had a 34-19 lead. The Sun had gone on a 25-4 run and this turned out to be the highest scoring quarter in NBA playoff history.

The Sun went into the second quarter with the same energy and at the half they led 53-42. Connecticut had led by as much as 23 at one point in the quarter. Kelsey Plum launched a 41-foot three point shot at the buzzer making this game much more manageable for Las Vegas.

The Sun were shooting at a blistering 60% in the first half. They had been shooting an average of 68 points per game so 53 after two quarters was an amazing stat for Connecticut. The Sun defense was disturbing the Aces timing. They had been suffocating Las Vegas taking the paint away from them.

The Aces had a lot of work to do but finished the half on a great note cutting a 23 point deficit to 11 at the half. Las Vegas needed some second half adjustments. The Aces would need a lot of energy to catch the Sun in this game.

Another question would be the ability of the Sun to continue the same defensive pressure that they had in the first half. That question was answered as the second half got underway. The Sun continued to control the game in the third quarter maintaining their double digit lead throughout most of it. As the quarter expired the Aces trailed by eight points 77-69. Las Vegas had made up some ground and it would come down to the final quarter.

The fourth quarter belonged to the Sun. Every time the Aces challenged, Connecticut had the answer and refused to back down. The final was 105-76 in favor of Connecticut.

The high score for the Aces was Jackie Young with 22 points. Every starter for the Sun shot in double digits with the high coming from Jonquel Jones with 20 points followed by Dewanna Bonner with 18. The aggressive offense and defense was just too hot tonight for Las Vegas to handle.

Game four will be played in Connecticut on Sunday with tipoff at 1:00 PM televised on ESPN. Las Vegas will try and turn the table on the Suns defense and an offense that was equally impressive in game three.

Aces Win Game One In Championship Series Over Relentless Suns 67-64

Las Vegas Aces forward A’ja Wilson (22) posts up for a shot over Connecticut Sun center Brionna Jones during the first half in Game 1 of a WNBA basketball final playoff series Sunday, Sept. 11, 2022, in Las Vegas. (AP News photo)

Aces Win Game One In Championship Series Over Relentless Suns 67-64

By Barbara Mason

Sunday afternoon the Las Vegas Aces defeated the Connecticut Sun 67-64 at Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas to take a 1-0 series lead in their quest for their first championship. They will played the upset-minded Sun who mounted a 4th quarter rally beating the defending champion Chicago Sky 72-63 in game five of their series last Thursday.

The Aces have inarguably the best starting lineup in the WNBA and in her first year as head coach the team boasts the incomparable leadership of Becky Hammond.

The Sun took on the likes of A’ja Wilson (WNBA MVP for a second year), Kelsey Plum (all-time leading scorer in division I history) and finally Jackie Young ( the league’s most improved player). They have an invaluable host of players that will support them throughout this series.

Game 1 Sunday recap: Las Vegas got off to a quick start and at one time the Aces held a 12 point lead but the Sun kept plugging away and at the half had taken a 38-34 lead in an unexpected turnaround. The Sun won the second quarter 21-9 in a punishing effort.

The Sun continued to battle and held the lead through most of the third quarter. In the final three minutes of the quarter the Aces began to turn it around and led after three 55-53.

The Sun came into this game with upset on their mind and they were sure playing like it trailing in the fourth quarter but within striking distance. With under three minutes left in the game Las Vegas created a little distance leading 58-66. With 34 seconds left on the clock, the Aces held a slim 67-64 lead. That advantage would hold and Las Vegas had won the first game of the series.

Much of the success in this game went to the Aces defense fighting throughout the game against a tenacious Sun squad. Alyssa Thomas finished with 19 points for the Sun and Jonquel Jones had 15 but Connecticut came up just short in a hard fought battle that went right down to the wire.

A’ja Wilson finished with 24 points and 11 rebounds another double double for her. Chelsea Gray had 21 points and Jackie Young had 11. It was a slow night for Kelsey Plum who only had six points but look for her to pick things up throughout the series.

Game Two will be in Las Vegas on Tuesday with tipoff at 6:00 PM on ESPN.

Aces winning streak ends at seven, fall to Sun, 97-90

Las Vegas Aces guard Kelsey Plum (10) during the first half of a WNBA basketball game Thursday, June 2, 2022, in Las Vegas. (Sports Radio Service Photo/Shawn McCullough)

By Shawn McCullough

LAS VEGAS–The Connecticut Sun bounced back from an 89-81 loss to the Aces on Tuesday with a 97-90 win at Michelob Ultra Arena.

“It’s hard to beat a team two times in a row, that close together,” said head coach Becky Hammon.

The Aces fell behind early, trailing at the end of the first quarter, 37-22.

“Obviously, not the first quarter that we wanted,” said Hammon. “After that, I thought the teams played pretty evenly, but we put ourselves in a hole. You can’t let a team scored 37 points in 10 minutes.”

Jackie Young led the Aces with 26 points, going 9 for 12 from the field. Young left the game later in the game due to injury.

“We were all upset to see her [Young] go down,” said guard Kelsey Plum. “Jackie is as tough as it gets.”

Plum dropped 23 points, including shooting 5 for 10 from three-point range, while A’ja Wilson scored 13 points and pulled down seven rebounds.

“We lost the game in the first quarter,” said Plum. “They came out and punched us in the face.”

With the loss, the Aces fell to 9-2 on the season but still hold the best record in the WNBA.

Las Vegas will next meet the Dallas Wings at home on Sunday.

Las Vegas Aces –

Game Notes:

The Aces shot 48.5% from the field, while going 10 for 25 from three-point range.
Las Vegas was out-rebounded by the Sun, 37-31.
The Aces turned the ball over 13 times.

Game Starters:

C – 22 A’ja Wilson
F – 5 Dearica Hamby
F – 0 Jackie Young
G – 10 Kelsey Plum
G – 12 Chelsea Gray

Aces Injury Report:

Riquna Williams – Out, Left Foot Sprain

Aces fall to Sun, 76-62

Photo credit: Shawn McCullough (Sports Radio Service)

By Shawn McCullough

The Aces three game winning streak came to an end as the Sun beat Las Vegas, 76-62, at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut.

“They [Connecticut] played a hard basketball game and we didn’t,” said head coach Bill Laimbeer. “The players need to execute a lot better and we need to become a more mentally tough team.”

With the win the Sun won the season series against the Aces, 3-0.

“That’s three games in a row that they got us playing their game instead us playing our game,” said Laimbeer.

Last season’s WNBA MVP, A’ja Wilson, struggled, shooting just 1 for 15 from the field and finished the game with four points.

She [Wilson] gets in her own head at times,” said Laimbeer of Wilson. “She didn’t have a very good start and she kind of puts her head down. She needs to play through that.”

The Aces were led by point guard Chelsea Gray with 15 points, while both Liz Cambage and Dearica Hamby added 13.

“We struggled with the same thing that we struggled with in the first two games of the series, taking care of the basketball,” said Hamby.

With the loss, the Aces dropped to 17-7 on the season heading into their next game on Thursday in Atlanta against the 6-17 Dream.

Las Vegas Aces –

Game Notes:

  • The Aces shot just 39.7% from the field, while Connecticut shot 44.8%.
  • Las Vegas was outrebounded 39-30.
  • The Aces have eight more games left in the regular season, five on the road and three at home.

Game Starters:

F – 22 A’ja Wilson
F – 3 Riquna Williams
C – 8 Liz Cambage
G – 0 Jackie Young
G – 12 Chelsea Gray

Aces Injury Report:

Angel McCoughtry—Out, right ACL

Headline Sports with Tony Renteria: Curry is expected back by game one of the playoffs; Kings fire Joerger, Walton most likely successor; plus more

Photo credit: @theScore

On Headline Sports podcast with Tony:

#1 The Golden State Warriors say that Stephen Curry is day to day after he rolled his ankle in New Orleans on Tuesday night. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr says that Curry should be back by the first game of the NBA playoffs.

#2 Sacramento Kings fired head coach Dave Joerger Thursday after three losing seasons. The firing most likely will be an open door for Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton to take over the coaching job in Sacramento. Wednesday was the last day of the regular season for the Sacramento Kings. They grew, they had won 12 more games than last season, and they have a core of players that are much improved over last season. Tony tells us what the Kings will do to get a viable shot at the playoffs for next season.

#3 It was kind of historical in Boston on Tuesday night when members of the Boston Red Sox and the New England Patriots made an appearance on the field before the Sox ball game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park. Both teams were showing their Championship trophies as both teams won Championships in the first year.

#4 Two players from Bay Area schools were drafted on Wednesday by the WNBA. From Cal, Kristine Anigwe, who was named Defensive Player of the Year, and from the Stanford Cardinal, Alanna Smith. It has to be a pretty big honor for these players to get to the next level and play in the WNBA.

#5 The A’s won another series this time over the Baltimore Orioles on this current road trip after getting swept in Houston by the Astros to start the trip. The A’s defeated the O’s in the four game series and head to Texas to open a three game series with the Rangers starting on Friday night.

Tony does the Headline Sports each Thursday at