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It’s an inter-conference clash in the WNBA in the city that never sleeps. The Connecticut Sun finishes up a road trip as they travel to face the Las Vegas Aces Saturday night. Connecticut fell 84-77 on the road to Phoenix Thursday night in the third game of their four game trip. Las Vegas picked up an 84-80 home win over Chicago in their last tilt Thursday night. The Sky ran all over the Aces in the first meeting this season, taking a 101-65 triumph at home on May 20.
Connecticut Sun Looking to Rise Again
Connecticut took the loss against Phoenix Thursday night to fall to 1-2 on their trip. The Sun dropped to 10-8 on the year and dropped to sixth in the WNBA playoff picture, 3.5 games behind the Mercury with their seventh loss in 10 games. Connecticut trailed by 13 after three quarters only to cut the deficit to one twice in the fourth, the last with 3:45 to play. The Sun was outscored 9-3 down the stretch to take the loss. Connecticut shot 34.6 percent from the field and went nine of 22 from three point range. Free throws proved to be critical as the Sun were 12 of 13 while the Mercury hit 24 of 28. Chiney Ogwumike, Rachel Banham and Jasmine Thomas each had 11 in the loss for Connecticut.
The Sun is second in the league in scoring offense as they put up an average of 86.3 points per game so far this season. Connecticut leads the league in rebounding (37.2 boards a night) while they stand seventh by dishing out 18.7 assists a game on the year. The Sun is slipping a bit defensively as they are eighth in scoring defense by allowing an average of 82 points per game. Chiney Ogwumike leads Connecticut with 15.3 points plus 7.6 rebounds per contest. Jasmine Thomas puts up 12.8 points plus 4.3 assists a game, Courtney Williams chips in 12.3 points plus six boards a night and Alyssa Thomas is good for 12 points, 9.9 boards and 4.2 assists per game. Alex Bentley (10 points), Jonquel Jones, Shekinna Strickland, Rachel Banham, Brionna Jones and Morgan Tuck are all key cogs in the high octane Sun offensive attack. Connecticut is tied for sixth in the league in field goal percentage as they shoot 44.9 percent as a team. The Sun is fourth in three pointers per game (7.4) and seventh in three point percentage (34.5 percent) on the year. Connecticut has sputtered at the charity stripe as they convert on 75.3 percent of their attempts, which is second to last in the league.
Las Vegas Aces Battling to Stay in Playoff Picture
Las Vegas had dropped three of four before shutting down the Sky at home Thursday. The Aces improved to 7-12 on the year and are ninth in the league in the standings, 2.5 games behind the Dream entering Friday night. Las Vegas trailed by two at halftime, took a two point edge after three quarters and, after seeing Chicago close the gap to one with 3:52 to play, held the Sky to three points the rest of the way. The Aces shot 42.3 percent from the floor, hit three of seven three point attempts, won the rebounding battle 40-35 and forced 16 turnovers. Kayla McBride led Las Vegas with 28 points and seven assists in the victory.
The Aces come into this contest in the middle of the pack in scoring offense, ranking seventh with 81.4 points per game. Las Vegas is fourth in the league in rebounding (36 boards a game) and stand fourth in assists by handing out 19.7 per contest. The Aces have to improve on the defensive end of the floor as they are second worst in the league in scoring defense by allowing 85.2 points a game. A’ja Wilson is living up to the #1 pick the team used on her as she leads the team with 20.3 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game. Kayla McBride is the only other player in double figures for Las Vegas with 18.5 points per contest. Getting consistent production from Tamera Young, Nia Coffey, Dearica Hamby, Kelsey Plum and Lindsay Allen will do wonders to take some of the load off Wilson and McBride. Las Vegas is ninth in the league in field goal percentage as they shoot 43 percent from the field as a team this season. The Aces are last in the league in threes per game (3.4) and tied for third in three point shooting at 36.1 percent on the year. Las Vegas is just 10th in free throw shooting at 76.1 percent on the season.
- Sun are 22-8 ATS in their last 30 games vs. a team with a losing straight up record
- Sun are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 Saturday games
- Aces are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games overall
Las Vegas has won two of their last three but still has work to do to get into the playoff picture. Connecticut started hot at 7-1 but has lost seven of their last 10 games coming into this one. The Sun hopes to get Williams back while Alyssa Thomas is now out indefinitely with her shoulder injury, which is a major blow to the team. The Aces are improving offensively but their defense has struggled all season long, which is going to be a problem against a high octane Connecticut offense. The Sun get the upper hand here as they steal a victory.