September 18, 2022 

Daily Briefing — Sept. 18, 2022: Connecticut Sun, Las Vegas Aces return to Mohegan Sun for Game 4

What’s in the cards? Only time will tell.

Happy Sunday! Welcome to The Next’s Daily Briefing, featuring the daily Watch List. Day 15 of the WNBA post-season is here, with the Connecticut Sun once again on the edge of elimination, despite forcing a Game 4 last Thursday. A historic performance for the Sun in many respects, there’s plenty for the Sun to take with them into Game 4.

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For one, the “messy” game-play the Sun have touted throughout the playoffs might not be their dark horse — setting a team single-game assist record and executing some of the most effective traps I’ve personally seen this season helped them convert gritty and focused defense into equally functional offense. Not to mention, they kept DPOY A’ja Wilson to just four rebounds and forced four turnovers out of noted playoff phenom Chelsea Gray.

With six players in double figures by the final buzzer, including an efficient triple-double from Alyssa Thomas and an MVP-type performance from Jonquel Jones, the Sun will look to recreate that Game 3 magic as they head into Game 4. Perhaps returning home after eight days on the road was just what Connecticut needed to put up a fight.

For the Aces, there’s no discounting the extra rest they were able to get their starting five, though we’ll have to wait to see whether it paid off. If the Sun come out swinging with the same moves they made in Game 3, it’ll take some serious adjustment on both ends of the court if the Aces want to call this one game.

From late rotations leaving lanes wide open for the likes of Thomas and Jones, over-committing on DeWanna Bonner just to leave noted three-point shooter Natisha Hiedeman so open she had time to take a dribble and set her feet, and getting complacent and stagnant on the offensive, Game 3 was hardly the performance the Aces were hoping for.

With the trophy in the building (as confirmed by The Next‘s Howard Megdal), it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say Las Vegas is just minutes away from fulfilling their destiny. With Coach of the Year Becky Hammon at the helm, they’ve at least given themselves as good a shot as any.

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Next, read:

  • Our Jacqueline LeBlanc digs into the level-headed and assist-heavy strategy that brought the Connecticut Sun back from the brink of a clean sweep and previews what they’ll need to do to stay alive in Game 4.
  • Our Jenn Hatfield explores the world of 3×3 basketball and met up with the four Ivy League alumnae making the most of a new opportunity.

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Watch list, Sunday, Sept. 18 — Finals

(All times in Eastern)

Las Vegas @ Connecticut, 4 p.m., ESPN, SN — Aces lead the series, 2–1.

Written by Isabel Rodrigues

Isabel Rodrigues (she/her) is a contributing writer for The Next from upstate New York who regularly covers 3x3 and the state of women's basketball in the U.S. and internationally.

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