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May 23—DeWanna Bonner knows firsthand how much of a grind it is trying to rebound against her Connecticut Sun teammates.

“We just have some beasts on the board,” Bonner said after Friday night’s 84-67 win over the Phoenix Mercury. “Even at practice, they dominate me. I’m like, OK. (It) makes my job a little bit easier.”

The next challenge for Connecticut’s rebounding beasts is of the league’s biggest, baddest frontcourts — Liz Cambage, A’ja Wilson and the Las Vegas Aces. The teams play Sunday at Michelob ULTRA Arena (6 p.m.).

“(The Mercury) are a long team,” Connecticut’s Jonquel Jones said after Friday’s win. “We’re a long team, too, and we pride ourselves on being able to rebound.

“It doesn’t get any easier going up against A’ja and Liz, but we understand that we can do it and we expect to do it.”

Las Vegas (2-1) ground its way past the Sun in last year’s WNBA semifinals which went the full five games. It led the league in rebounding (37.4 rpg) despite the 6-8 Cambage opting out of the season due to the pandemic. It was also third in defensive field goal percentage (.431).

The Aces and the defending WNBA Seattle Storm are considered the top two favorites to win this season’s championship. They’ve played twice already at Seattle and split the games — Las Vegas won Tuesday 96-80.

Wilson (6-foot-4) earned WNBA MVP honors last season and Cambage is one of the league’s best centers. Forward Jackie Young, the No. 1 pick in the 2019 draft, rounds out Las Vegas’ frontcourt. It is also blessed with post Dearica Camby (6-3), who has won the last two Sixth Woman of the Year honors.

The Aces’ already talented roster was super-charged during the offseason when they signed two-time All-WNBA point guard Chelsea Gray away from the Los Angeles Sparks. She helped the Sparks win the 2016 WNBA title.

Cambage, Gray, Hamby, Wilson and Young all scored in double figures in Friday night’s 97-69 mauling of the Sparks.

Connecticut used an absurd 48-24 rebounding edge, including 17 offensive rebounds, in Friday’s win over a Mercury team that has 6-8 Olympic center Brittney Griner.

The Sun also held the Mercury to 38.2% shooting, impressive given its star trio of Skylar Diggins-Smith, Diana Taurasi and Griner.

Natisha Hiedeman knocked down a 3-pointer 27 seconds into the game as unbeaten Connecticut scored the first 11 points and led the rest of the way. It led by as much as 58-42 with 5 minutes, 30 seconds left in the third quarter

“Physicality, effort (and) energy from the get-go,” Sun head coach Curt Miller said after the win. “The start set the tone for us. What an incredible start out of the locker room. Disappointed the other night (Wednesday) with our start against Indiana (which took an early 9-2 lead). There was an intentional conversation about our start, our focus. That really set the tone.”

All nine Sun players scored, led by Jonquel Jones who had 16 points, 11 rebounds and four assists.

Bonner had 14 points, seven rebounds and four assists in her first game at Phoenix since the Sun acquired her from the latter in a 2020 offseason trade.

Jasmine Thomas had 15 points and four rebounds, Hiedeman had 12 points and four rebounds and Brionna Jones added eight points and seven rebounds.