May 24—The Connecticut Sun were watching another seemingly comfortable lead evaporate with under a minute left in Sunday night’s game as the Las Vegas Aces cut their deficit to two points.
Connecticut didn’t flinch.
DeWanna Bonner made a huge three coming out of a timeout with 38.6 seconds left and Brionna Jones followed with a steal on the other end as the Sun ground out a 72-65 win at Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas.
Look who’s 5-0.
“(I’m) really proud,” Sun head coach Curt Miller said. “Vegas is a really talented team and for us to get a road win with our third game in five days is really big. It does a lot for our confidence down the line.”
The Sun certainly aren’t lacking in belief in themselves as the WNBA’s only unbeaten team. They led 67-58 with 1 minute, 48 seconds remaining in the game when Las Vegas made one last run.
A Bonner turnover led to a transition layup by reigning WNBA MVP A’ja Wilson to cut Connecticut’s lead to 67-65 with 48.6 seconds left.
Miller called timeout. Ten seconds later, Bonner made her three facing the Sun bench with Dearica Hamby close up on her.
“I’ve been shooting that shot all season,” Bonner said. “I felt I had a little bit of space for a catch-and-shoot. I’ve been hitting it consistently.”
Connecticut’s plan coming out of the timeout was to get the ball to Jonquel Jones but the play wasn’t there.
“How about that,” Miller said. “DeWanna had just turned it over the offensive possession before and then steps up and makes a big three. That championship pedigree (that she has).
“This is the maturity of our players — we continued to keep moving the ball into a secondary action, and that is when DeWanna stepped up with a big basket. … For DB to do that after a turnover just shows her toughness to make a big shot.”
Brionna Jones intercepted a Chelsea Gray pass she fired inside the paint with 29.2 seconds left. Bonner was fouled and made two free throws for the game’s final points.
Jonquel Jones had 19 points, 11 rebounds and three steals, Brionna Jones had 19 points, five rebounds and four assists and Bonner scored 22 with seven rebounds and two steals for Connecticut.
The Sun outrebounded the Aces, 44-26. That included a 12-1 edge in offensive rebounds. That gave them more shooting opportunities as it took 80 shots to the Aces’ 54.
“We win a game against one of the protected (world championship) favorites shooting 33-percent from the field,” Miller said. “It just goes to show that if you defend and rebound, you can win nights when your offense struggles at times.”
Wilson had 14 points and seven rebounds for the Aces (2-2) and Chelsea Gray added 13 points, five assists and two steals.
Liz Cambage, Las Vegas’ imposing 6-foot-8 center, picked up two fouls early which limited her minutes. She made all three of her field goals in 22 minutes with seven rebounds and four blocks.
Bonner’s 21-foot jumper gave Connecticut its largest lead, 20-9, with 8:59 left in the second quarter.
The Sun proceeded to miss 16 of their final 18 shots of the half and turned it over five times. They fell behind by as much as 33-25, with 9.7 seconds left in the quarter
Connecticut continued to try to score low, defend and work the boards and it eventually paid off. It trailed 35-27 just 41 seconds into the third quarter when it went on a 23-4 run.
Bonner turned a layup into a three-point play to put the Sun ahead for good, 42-39, with 4:05 left in the quarter.
Jones did the same minutes later to extend Connecticut’s lead to 50-39 with 2:46 remaining in the third.
“We just never stopped trying to get the ball in the paint,” Miller said.