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Kelsey Plum’s 22 powers Aces past Sun

Sportsnaut
Sep 7, 2018; Seattle, WA, USA; The WNBA logo on a ball during the fourth quarter of game one of the WNBA finals between the Seattle Storm and the Washington Mystics at KeyArena. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

Kelsey Plum’s 22-point performance Sunday led five players in double figures as the Las Vegas Aces used a big third quarter run to topple the short-handed Connecticut Sun 91-83 in Uncasville, Conn.

Chelsea Gray added 21 points and nine assists for Las Vegas (18-7), while A’ja Wilson scored 20 points. Jackie Young contributed 12 and Riquna Williams came off the bench to hit for 11 points.

DeWanna Bonner paced Connecticut (16-9) with 19 points, although she made just 5 of 12 shots. Courtney Williams, Brionna Jones and Natasha Hiedeman added 16 points each. The Sun lost despite canning 47.7 percent of their field goal attempts and earning a 41-30 advantage on the boards.

But the Aces made up for that by forcing 22 turnovers and committing just seven. In fact, Connecticut’s Alyssa Thomas committed nine turnovers by herself, which helped offset her 14 rebounds and six assists.

The result moved Las Vegas within a game of Chicago for the WNBA’s best record. It also gave the Aces the tiebreaker on Connecticut for playoff seeding purposes.

The pregame storyline was the absence of Connecticut’s Jonquel Jones, the WNBA’s reigning MVP. Jones was ruled out before the game when she was placed in the league’s health and safety protocols, putting the team’s leading scorer and rebounder out of the lineup.

But the Sun still got off to a strong start, doing it with defense. Las Vegas made just 6 of 19 field goal attempts while Connecticut used balanced scoring to grab a 20-14 advantage after the first quarter.

The Sun maintained their small lead through the second quarter, although the Aces gradually chipped away. Wilson finished a 10-point half by converting a layup with 2.3 seconds left, cutting the Connecticut lead to 37-35 at intermission.

Plum enabled Las Vegas to seize control in the third quarter when she followed Gray’s 3-pointer with two more of her own, then added two foul shots. The Aces rattled off a 24-7 run in the period’s first 4:23 and took a 64-58 advantage to the fourth quarter.

–Field Level Media