The seventh-seeded Sun enjoy a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series and now have the chance to win through to the decider for the second straight year after falling to the Washington Mystics last year.
Las Vegas finished the regular season top of the league but are now staring down the barrel of a semi-final exit with their hopes of a first-ever championship hanging in the balance.
The Sun drew first blood winning the opening game before Las Vegas responded, led superbly by this year’s MVP A’ja Wilson, who sunk 29 points to even up the ledger.
Enter two-time All-Star forward Alyssa Thomas.
Thomas dislocated her right shoulder midway through the first quarter in Game 2 and was forced to the bench.
Suddenly Connecticut’s hopes rested on said shoulder. But both player and team are made of tough stuff.
Not only did Thomas take to the court in Game 3, she clocked 39 minutes of game time and inspired her side to a 77-68 victory with a sizzling second half and clutch play.
The 28-year-old top scored with 23 points, on 10-of-21 shooting, and scored eight points down the stretch in the final three minutes. She also finished with 12 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals.
So, where to from here?
For the Sun, victory will propel them into another Finals series and the chance of redemption.
Their post-season defence has been superb, however, at the other end of the floor, coach Curt Miller can take confidence from the stat sheet and that his side can improve their shooting from the field after going 1 of 11 in Game 2.
Meanwhile, Las Vegas are desperate to force this to a Game 5 but must handle the ball better after turning it over 15 times to Connecticut’s four last game.
Wilson posted a double-double (20 points, 12 rebounds) and Angel McCoughtry added 16 points earlier in the week and the Aces will need a greater spread across the stat sheet with Sixth Woman of the Year Dearica Hamby and guards Kayla McBride and Danielle Robinson primed.
History is also on Aces coach Bill Laimbeer’s side. He is 5-1 in his past six playoff series when his team has dropped the opening game.
In the opposing WNBA semi-final series, Seattle Storm lead Minnesota Lynx 2-0.