After the Las Vegas Aces won back-to-back games to open the 2022 WNBA Finals, the Connecticut Sun entered Thursday evening’s Game 3 in a must-win scenario. The Sun responded in kind, leading for the majority of the evening and taking advantage of a 19-0 fourth quarter run to secure a 105-76 blowout to climb back into the best-of-five series.
The first half was marked by runs on both sides, with the Aces starting the game flying high. Las Vegas opened with a 12-4 run, making five of their first six shots and grabbing four quick points from reigning MVP A’ja Wilson.
Las Vegas was not able to maintain that prosperity for very long, as Connecticut caught fire for an extended period. The Sun went on a 30-7 extended run to end the first quarter with a 34-19 lead, and Connecticut made 14 of its final 15 shots while stringing together defensive stops.
The Sun set a new WNBA Finals record by shooting 83 percent from the floor in the first quarter, and it was an impressive exhibition of shot-making. Connecticut also had a whopping 12 assists in the first quarter, setting an impressive tone in a win-or-go-home game.
Connecticut didn’t stop there, scoring the first five points of the second quarter to build a 20-point edge. Las Vegas went more than five and a half minutes without scoring, and the Sun appeared to be in total control.
The Sun led by as many as 23 points in the second quarter, but Las Vegas did not roll over. Chelsea Gray converted three consecutive three-pointers to kickstart the Aces’ offense, and Las Vegas later closed the first half with an 8-0 run that featured a buzzer-beater from Kelsey Plum.
After facing a sizable deficit, the response was impressive from Las Vegas, and the Aces shot 8-of-16 from three-point range to stay within striking distance. Connecticut was 6-of-8 from three-point distance, though, and the Suns produced 19 assists in the first half to keep an 11-point lead.
Much of the third quarter was tightly contested, with the margin staying between 10 and 15 points for the majority of the period. Jonquel Jones was key for Connecticut, putting pressure on the rim and keeping the Sun in front.
Las Vegas did make a late charge, cutting the margin to as few as six points and settling in with an eight-point deficit as the fourth quarter arrived. While Connecticut’s approach was balanced from a scoring standpoint in typical fashion, the Sun did receive incredible all-around contributions from Alyssa Thomas, who was named to the All-WNBA second team earlier in the evening. Thomas became the first player in WNBA Finals history to produce a triple-double, and the benchmark was reached with more than nine minutes remaining.
Thomas also helped the Sun to reinstall a 12-point lead, prompting a Las Vegas timeout with 8:35 remaining. The Aces stopped the bleeding momentarily but, starting in the middle of the fourth quarter, Connecticut scored 19 consecutive points and turned the final result into a complete blowout on the scoreboard.
Thomas was the biggest individual story for Connecticut, finishing with 16 points, 15 rebounds, and 11 assists to go along with two steals and a block. Jones was also excellent with 20 points, five rebounds and four assists, with DeWanna Bonner adding 18 points, six rebounds, and five assists. Six players reached double figures for the Sun, and the team finished with 32 assists while shooting 56 percent from the floor and 53 percent from three-point distance.
The Sun still have plenty of work to do as they attempt to overcome an 0-2 deficit. Still, this victory sets up a Game 4 matchup in Connecticut on Sunday afternoon and, if the Sun can hold serve at home once again, anything can happen in a winner-take-all Game 5 setting.