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Jasmine Thomas #5 of the Connecticut Sun shoots the ball against the Las Vegas Aces in Game Four of the Semifinals of the 2020 WNBAPlayoffs on September 27, 2020 at Feld Entertainment Center in Palmetto, Florida. (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)
“Tonight, I don't think we came out with the energy and effort we needed to to close the series,” Alyssa Thomas said after the Connecticut Sun’s 84-75 loss in Game 4 of the semifinals against the Las Vegas Aces.
The Sun, which led for most of the series, led 38-37 at halftime, but the Aces took control in the third quarter, leading by double digits for long stretches during the second half.
“Disappointing start for us in the third quarter, really kind of set the tone for the rest of the game, just trying to claw back. [Angel McCoughtry] single handedly took over and I think she had 12 points, pretty quickly out of half time and assisted on another basket so she was involved in every play,” said head coach Curt Miller.
Angel McCoughtry went 7-of-7 from the floor totaling 16 points in the third quarter alone.
“I mean we know what kind of player Angel is, she's super talented, she's always been down to it and I think she just, she was aggressive tonight she got down low on us, put pressure on our defense, got in the paint against us then her shot started to fall. When she got in rhythm it was hard for us to really slow her down,” said Jasmine Thomas.
Jasmine Thomas led the team with 25 points, going 6-for-11 from three, and added six assists and two steals as well.
“I mean, just kind of trying to take what they give me. I wasn't trying to force anything. They were really clogging the paint against us. I think Curt told us we took 30 less shots in the paint. And that's you know credit to their defense they know how dominant we are the paint with Breezy [Brionna Jones] and AT and they really crowded down there and forced us [to take] outside shots. For me, my shot was falling today and I just tried to keep taking it with confidence,” Thomas said.
Connecticut had just 20 points on the paint on 10-of-24 shooting, with the DeWanna Bonner, Alyssa Thomas and Brionna Jones scoring a total of just 45 points. The Sun will need to find more success in the paint in order to win Game 5 on Tuesday.
The team will also have to limit the Aces’ fast break points, as Las Vegas was able to score 16 fast break points, the most in a game this series.
“They turned some of our live ball turnovers into points, they got out in the transition a little bit more than we would like. So, again, those are energy plays that that fuels because we weren't able to string together some stops,” Miller said.
The team is not concerned about playing in another elimination game, the Sun’s third this year.
“We've been two-for-two this year [in elimination games], we knew this series was not going to be easy, we knew closing it out wasn't going to be easy. They're the number one seed for a reason,” Miller said.
The plan for the Sun is simple, continue to play with energy on Tuesday.
Miller said, “We're not going to lose our swagger, we're going to come in with fight and energy I felt like they had the bigger energy tonight. It's been a big part of this story I feel like teams that have played with more passion and energy, tenacity, have won each of the four games. And so, we can't let the inability to maybe string together stops, or a turnover, or missed open shot effect how we play at the defensive end.”
The Sun play Game 5 against the Aces on 7:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Sept. 29.