The Connecticut Sun came into Las Vegas looking to return to their winning ways and did just that, defeating the Aces 80-74.
The home debut of all-star Liz Cambage highlighted Sunday’s matchup, but the Sun did a great job of containing the 6-foot-8 center. She would finish with 14 points and 7 rebounds, but Connecticut’s defense turned out to be the real headline-grabber, forcing 21 Las Vegas turnovers.
Courtney Williams led the charge for Connecticut with 19 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists on 7-of-14 shooting. Jonquel Jones had 16 points and 13 rebounds for her third double-double of the young season, while Shekinna Stricklen and Alyssa Thomas posted 15 and 14 points, respectively.
A’ja Wilson had 19 points on 9-of-11 FG to lead the Aces. Kayla McBride (13 points) and Dearica Hamby (10) also finished in double figures.
The Sun moved to 3-1 with the win, while the Aces fell to 1-2.
Here’s how it all went down:
PG: Jasmine Thomas
SG: Courtney Williams
SF: Shekinna Stricklen
PF: Alyssa Thomas
C: Jonquel Jones
ACES LEAD AFTER ONE
The first quarter was a fast-paced, back-and-forth affair, with Jones providing Connecticut’s play of the quarter. A spin move into a smooth 15-foot jump shot put the Sun ahead with roughly three minutes left in the first frame.
The Aces came on strong to finish the quarter however, closing with a 8-2 run that gave them a lead, which they would take into the second. In the midst of the run, Cambage recorded her first home bucket for Las Vegas.
The Sun looked to make a push back in the second quarter, with Layshia Clarendon going hard to the basket to get Connecticut going.
The Sun used an 8-0 run to cut the Aces’ lead to four late in the quarter, and would eventually take the lead 38-36 with just under two minutes remaining in the half.
Vegas didn’t roll over though, pushing back to take a 43-40 lead into the break.
Wilson led all scorers with 13 first-half points on 6-of-7 FG. Williams was the high scorer for Connecticut with 11 points on 5-of-8 FG.
Check out the first-half highlights here:
STRICKLEN’S SHARP SHOOTING
After a 4-0 start to the half, Stricklen continued her hot shooting from deep, knocking down her fourth 3-pointer of the game to put the Sun back on top. Her fourth three gave her 15 points mid-way through the quarter.
After another back-and-forth stretch, the game would ultimately be knotted at 61 heading into the final quarter.
Williams picked up her 1,000 career point on a third-quarter foul shot.
DOWN TO THE WIRE
It was a “League Pass alert” type of game, with the fourth quarter naturally coming down to the wire. With just under three minutes left, these two clubs had already racked up five lead changes over a five-minute span and 13 for the game.
The Sun’s aggressive defense prevented the Aces from finding any flow late in this one, causing 14 second-half turnovers. That would be the difference maker down the stretch, as Connecticut was able to put the finishing touches on their third win of the season.
PLAY OF THE GAME
This play says it all. Crisp ball movement and a nice drive-and-kick for the trey. Connecticut’s long-distance shooting was huge Sunday.
The Sun look to go 3-0 against the Los Angeles Sparks on Friday. Tip-off from Staples Center is slated for 10:30 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images