Las Vegas – in general, Las Vegas Aces Coach Becky Hammon is not blatant. She’ll make her point for sure, but if she can do it with the measured, even vocal tones she’s known for, that’s her go-to.
But sometimes circumstances—in this case the number one among the top five WNBA Finals—require a different approach. Aces won a Finals game for the first time in franchise history, topping the Connecticut Sun 67-64 here on Sunday, and they did it in a second half ignited by their coach’s first half.
“Oh, you lit up,” Hammon said of her locker room conversation with top seed Ars. “Because everything we talked about, we didn’t do any of it. And true to the formation, they just go ahead and do it afterwards.
“I don’t even scream in my real life. But when you feel strong about how to play a certain way… and you don’t implement it, it is frustrating. But at the end of the day, they know it. They are smart. They get it.”
Aces earned another dynamic duo performance of the season MVP Aja Wilson And the Chelsea Gray, who has made a case to date as the WNBA Post-Season Player of the Year. Wilson scored 24 points, had 11 rebounds and four blocking shots, while Gray scored 21 points and made three assists.
Gray also filed a late charge; Her insult isn’t the only thing that stole the show in the WNBA playoffs. Hamon called it the play of the era.
Gray and Wilson were asked to paraphrase what Hammon had told them in the first half, but both refused.
“We have kids watching,” Gray joked, and Wilson added, “You mean you haven’t heard?”
“It was just up to us to play our defensive style,” Gray continued. “We were letting them have attacking rebounds, easy scoring, handing the ball. This is the modified version. I can’t give you everything.”
Hammon summed it up this way: The Aces didn’t win points in paint and counterattacks, they didn’t make hustle points, nor did they make it difficult for Sun to get transition points and a second chance.
“You can go down the list – we didn’t do any of it,” Hamon said. Until the second half.
Credit also goes to Connecticut State, the No. 3 seed who defeated defending champion Chicago in a five-game semifinal series. The Sun has the best player of 2021 in Jonquil Jonesalong with one of the strongest players in the league in Alyssa Thomas. Both are strong and determined strikers.
“Messy” has become the buzzword around the sun this WNBA season because of their ability to put other teams out of their best, using their physical abilities to help do just that. But The Sun is no copy of the Broad Street Bullies of the Philadelphia Flyers of the 1970s, who used rough play to overcome a talent deficit against other teams. The sun has a lot of talents of their own. But in the face of two very good crimes in a row in the sky and the Aces, the State of Connecticut hoped to exhaust them with physical strength.
For the most part, the last series worked against Chicago. But no one has really been able to let the Aces go so far this season, even though they are not a deep side.
However, the Sun’s players do not appear to be disappointed with the way they played on Sunday, except for the lack of a win.
“I mean, after this game, we have to have a lot of confidence,” said Thomas, who led Sun with 19 points, 11 rebounds and five assists. “This is a three-point game, and we had a chance of a draw.
“There are a few things we can clean up. Of course, we can take more shots, but overall we played a tough game.”
Both teams had star players who struggled off the field in 1 of 9 shooting, so they kind of canceled each other out. the sun Bonner’s office He had three points, while the aces Kelsey Bloom six. Bonner’s latest error came due to her attempt to equalize in the last seconds.
“It was an ugly game,” Bloom said. “As a competitor, I want to help my team win, and that’s one of the ways I’ve done it all season. So I just know he’s going to turn, so I have to stay with him.”
However, Hamon noted that even the uncharacteristically offensive plum still contributed in other ways. And aces forward Derica Hampiwho started most of the season before leaving with a knee injury in August, has been working her way back and making an impact on Sunday at nearly 11 minutes on the Las Vegas Stadium.
“I thought Bloom’s defense all over the field really excited us – she played really hard,” Hammon said. “Her shot didn’t go down and I found other ways to affect the match. At the end of the day, that’s what you have to have, that kind of mentality.
“Derica, same. I didn’t smell in the first half and he came out and changed the whole aspect of the game [in the second half]. This is professional, first and foremost, but just ready to go. Her mentality is more than physical [play] Mentality. That’s what we needed, and that’s what we told them.”