Two vastly different seasons, only one will end in a Finals appearance
The Connecticut Sun looked lost just a few months ago. An 0-5 start coupled with the absence of all-star Jonquel Jones and Curt Miller could have easily given up on his squad. Especially in a short season with only 22 games, the future in the bubble was not looking bright for the Sun.
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Yet, here we are, and the 7-seed has upset both the Chicago Sky and Los Angeles Sparks en route to a semifinal showdown with the Aces. Even after the first two rounds, no one thought Connecticut could impede 1-seed Las Vegas. Once again, they defied the odds by going up 2-1 in the series.
After an outstanding game 4 performance from Angel McCoughtry, the Aces forced what every fan dreams of, a win or go home series finale.
The Aces were not always in line to be the top dog in the postseason, but after six straight wins led by MVP A’ja Wilson, they snuck into the pole position.
None of that matters now. No record, no season accolades, just 40 minutes of basketball between the best professional athletes in the sport.
Let’s look at how we got here. The Sun and Aces have alternated wins thus far, with no one scoring over 90 points in a contest. This is a testament to the defensive intensity of the two teams, who both ranked in top 4 in defensive rating this season. All the winning team has needed is 77 points in each game of this series, and this lack of offensive production is completely foreign to Las Vegas who scored at least 77 in every regular season game this year.
With Dearica Hamby sidelined, the supporting cast will have to step up for the Aces like they did in game 4. Jackie Young only scored 2 points in the previous meeting, and if Las Vegas ends up victorious, expect her to show up heavily in the highlight reel.
The Sun have also relied less and less on their bench as the series has gone on, but that is part of their team identity. If Connecticut wants to return to the finals for the second straight year, they will need their all-WNBA duo of Alyssa Thomas and DeWanna Bonner to be on their A-game.
This game will be scrappy, and should be close throughout. Each game in the series has had a late run put the game away, and both teams will be cognizant about any momentum swings.
When it is all said and done, I think the Aces will be too much for the Sun to handle, and will move on to the finals with a score of 85-78. Am I hedging happiness since I am a hometown Connecticut fan and so I will either be right in my prediction or happy for the Sun? Maybe. Will that stop me and everyone else from enjoying the fantastic display of basketball we will see tonight? Nope, not at all.
The Seattle Storm are waiting, and they are looking to make history in their own right. Whoever they end up facing, the WNBA Finals will be must see basketball.