Eighteen points. Ten turnovers.
That was Tuesday’s second half in a nutshell for the Sun, who watched another shot at a WNBA championship go “poof!”
“Our offense has been inconsistent, it’s been clunky at times, and tonight it bit us in the second half,” Sun coach Curt Miller said following a 66-63 loss to Las Vegas in a decisive Game 5 of their semifinal series in Bradenton, Fla.
There were plenty of times this year when Connecticut was good enough on the other end of the floor to overcome its offense, but not against the Aces, not against MVP A’ja Wilson, not with a berth in the Finals at stake.
And so it ends for the Sun. Here’s a look at the takeaways from their season-ending loss.
The offense fizzles: Miller bemoaned his team’s lack of energy to open the second half of Game 4. That didn’t appear to be the case this time around. Las Vegas’ 13-0 run early in the third quarter was about execution, or lack thereof, more than anything. The Sun missed nine straight shots and went more than five minutes without scoring, enabling the Aces to jump in front, 52-49. Frustration grew, and Miller felt some players began to press.
The “Engine” comes to play: What else is there to say about Alyssa Thomas? The veteran forward, dislocated shoulder and all, was Connecticut’s best player from start to finish. She got going early, scoring 12 of her team-high 22 points in the first quarter. And she kept going, playing all 40 minutes. Gritty. Gutty. It’s unfortunate we won’t get to see her do it again in the Finals.
Jones battles: Though she struggled from the floor, shooting 3-of-10 and scoring only seven points, Brionna Jones was a force on the glass. She pulled down 12 rebounds, seven on the offensive end. She also recorded four steals. And she apparently did so on just one healthy leg. Miller revealed during his postgame Zoom conference that the fourth-year center had been playing through a painful Achilles injury for nearly a month.
Photo: Phelan M. Ebenhack / Associated Press
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Good D by Vegas: The Sun’s last offensive possession? Good play call, better defense by the Aces. Miller called a screen and got a matchup he liked: 5-foot-9 Danielle Robinson guarding 6-4 Bonner. But Bonner couldn’t shake Robinson and had to settle for an off-balance 20-footer in the final seconds.
Just wait for JJ: OK, enough looking back. Let’s fast-forward to 2021. Here’s a question to ponder (assuming Thomas, a pending unrestricted free agent, re-signs): Where will than Jonquel Jones-Bonner-Thomas rank among the WNBA’s best Big Threes?
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