Womens Hoops

Wilson’s double-double leads Aces over Sun, 67-64, in Finals game 1

Wilson’s double-double leads Aces over Sun, 67-64, in Finals game 1

A’ja Wilson posts up for a shot against Brionna Jones. L.E. Baskow/AP Photo.

by W. G. Ramirez

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A’ja Wilson remembers what it was like being swept in the WNBA Finals two years ago, and didn’t like it.

Sunday, she made sure neither she nor her teammates would feel like that this season.

Wilson had 24 points and 11 rebounds, and the Las Vegas Aces beat the Connecticut Sun 67-64 on Sunday in Game 1 of the WNBA Finals.

“In the bubble, we were just happy to be there; and also happy to leave,” Wilson said. “Now in the moment, it’s like okay, we know that feeling. It sucks getting swept, it’s the worst thing ever. That’s the chip on your shoulder, that’s the fire, that’s the grind that you want to say, ‘I don’t wanna get swept anymore. I don’t wanna even have gentleman’s sweep.’

“You wanna go out there and play for your teammates because you felt the way that you felt in 2020 – and you hate it.”

The Aces staved off a late run by the Sun, who nearly erased a seven-point deficit with 1:24 left when Alyssa Thomas hit back-to-back shots to pull Connecticut within three. But DeWanna Bonner’s desperation 3-point attempt to tie the game fell short as time expired.

Chelsea Gray finished with 21 points for Las Vegas, while Jackie Young chipped in 11 as the franchise won their first WNBA Finals game in franchise history. They were also swept in 2008 when the team was in San Antonio.

After squandering a first-quarter lead, and allowing the Sun to control the second and carry momentum in the third, the Aces outscored Connecticut 13-3 to close the third quarter and seize momentum for the final period before a frenzied record sold out gathering of 10,135.

Thomas led Connecticut with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Jonquel Jones added 15 points, Brionna Jones came off the bench to score 12 and Natasha Hiedeman contributed with 10.

Saturday during Media Day, Las Vegas Aces coach Becky Hammon said she was unsure if she was ready to let Dearica Hamby put her physical game to play after missing the final month of the regular season with a knee injury, missing the first round of the playoffs, and then being used sparingly in the final two games of the semifinals.

But when Hamby came off the bench with 4:33 left in the third quarter, the two-time Sixth Woman of the Year provided an immediate spark for the Aces.

“She was phenomenal, she was ready to go,” Hammon said. “I just got to the point where I was like, my biggest, baddest beast…

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