Alyssa ******* Thomas.
Playing an entire season with two partially torn labrums, (yes, that means all of them), the Connecticut Sun forward decided to add a dislocated right shoulder into the mix for Thursday night’s crucial matchup against the Las Vegas Aces.
Thomas, who recently finished third in WNBA defensive player of the year voting to a very deserving Candace Parker, went down just five minutes into game 2, and it was questionable as to whether she would even be able to suit up for game three.
The undisputed toughest player in the league poured in 23 points, collecting 12 boards and putting away the game with two critical steals late in the fourth quarter, with defense leading to offense as exemplified below.
The Sun as a team played well but shot poorly. They only committed 4 turnovers but shot 1-for-11 from beyond the arc, preventing any early momentum.
Las Vegas was led, once again by A’ja Wilson *insert surprised reaction* who continues to be missing scoring help from her teammates. It is not just on the players, however, as Kayla McBride and Jackie Young are consistently getting smothered by the Sun defensive pressure, and head coach Bill Laimbeer has yet to seemingly make a major adjustment.
Something will have to change for the Aces if they expect to win two games in a row and avoid being bounced from the playoffs earlier than they had anticipated. Maybe they should up Wilson’s offensive usage even more, especially when being guarded by someone other than Alyssa Thomas, as she has been absolutely dominant against every other player the Sun have to offer.
In the early evening game, the Seattle Storm looked poised to go up 2-0 in the series after a big second quarter sent them to the halftime locker room with a 13-point lead. But the Minnesota Lynx came charging back in the third behind the play of Odyessy Sims and Damiris Dantas.
Despite the duo’s best efforts, they could not finish the comeback off in the fourth, and Seattle went on to win Game 2, 89-79. The Lynx will have to win three straight if they want a shot at a finals appearance, and they will need more efficient shooting out of Napheesa Collier and Crystal Dangerfield if they want to have a chance.
If there was any question as to how dangerous Seattle was, it should have been answered tonight. Despite Breanna Stewart shooting 4-for-13 and 0-for-7 from deep, the Storm still won comfortably. Spencer Nusbaum broke down yesterday how it’s not just on Stewart to make tough shots, but her team to make sure she gets fewer contested looks.
Jewell Loyd picked up the slack with 20 points, as her hot hand of the past two weeks failed to cool down. Seattle is in a great position to win the series in Game 3 and possibly earn themselves some extra rest heading into the finals if the Aces even up their series on Sunday.
As always, the impact WNBA players have on the court is nowhere near their influence regarding social justice activism. People all around the world were disappointed by Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s announcement that no chargers were filed against any officer directly regarding their murder of Breonna Taylor.
This was even more devastating for the players of the WNBA, who dedicated the season to Taylor with the hope of securing justice. Despite the news, these professional athletes are resilient, and Sun point guard Jasmine Thomas put it into words, saying, “Just to not give up. You know, it is disappointing. More should be done. It’s not enough, but we just can’t give up”.
What the WNBA and its players have done in the past few weeks to fight for equality will never be forgotten, rather looked at as a catalyst for a movement that is still just beginning.