LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The Connecticut Sun find themselves chasing history in the WNBA Finals. So it’s only fitting that to stay alive Thursday night they got a record-setting effort from Alyssa Thomas.
Facing elimination, the Sun got a triple-double from Thomas — the first in league Finals history — for a 105-76 Game 3 victory over the Aces.
“We’ve been struggling offensively, and we finally got a game back at home and my teammates were hitting shots,” said Thomas, who had 16 points, 15 rebounds and 11 assists as the Sun won for a fourth consecutive time in the postseason when facing elimination. “None of this would have been possible without them.”
Suns coach Cut Miller praised the play of Thomas, known for her all-around skills, especially her passing.
“We put the ball in her hands a lot tonight, and when things work as a coach, you feel really good that you pushed some right buttons,” Miller said. “But she’s so unselfish. … It’s just really fun to watch non-point guards share it. And tonight, she just sprayed the ball around all night, and it was fantastic to watch.”
The Sun are trying to become the first team in league history to win a Finals series after losing the first two games. In 15 previous instances, each team losing the first two has lost the best-of-five series.
Miller seemed to make sure so much of his team’s offense ran through Thomas, and he also matched DeWanna Bonner, a 6-foot-4 premier defender, on Aces point guard Chelsea Gray
Gray has been one of the best performers in the postseason, but at 5-11 she had trouble working against Bonner’s long arms and height.
Gray is averaging 21.9 points in the postseason, second best among all performers. She had 11 points in Game 3, none after intermission.
With Gray’s skills somewhat smothered, the Aces, seeking to clinch their first league title, had trouble offensively. They shot 45% (27-for-60) to 55.8% for the Sun (43-for-77). Plus, the Sun sizzled in the first half, shooting 82.4% (14-for-17) in the first quarter for 34-19 advantage after the opening 10 minutes.
At one point in the opening half the Sun had a 34-14 scoring spurt.
Bonner had 18 points, and Jonquel Jones led the Sun with 20.
“That’s a team that is very resilient. If you could encapsulate Connecticut it’s physical and very resilient,” Aces coach Becky Hammon said. “They are physical and resilient, and we didn’t match that tonight in any category.”
For the Aces, Jackie Young had 22 points, A’ja Wilson 19 and Kelsey Plum 17.
The Aces try for the clincher on Sunday, with Game 4 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.