Sun hand Aces first loss this season

DeWanna Bonner scores a career-high 41 points to hand Aces first loss of the season.

The Aces drop to 7-1 after falling 94-77 to the Connecticut Sun in the second of two road games. 

Kelsey Plum led the way for the Aces with 16 points, while A’ja Wilson scored 13, Chelsea Gray had 12, and Jackie Young added 10. 

The Sun were led by a career-high  41 points from DeWanna Bonner on 16-23 shooting, while Brionna Jones scored 12 points, Tiffany Hayes had 12 points. 

The first quarter was the polar opposite of the last game between these two teams, with Connecticut coming out on fire. Connecticut finished the quarter shooting 11-17 (64%) while holding the Aces to 4-13 (30%) shooting. DeWanna Bonner, who the Aces limited to 5 points on 2-9 shooting in the previous game, would score 14 points on 6-7 shooting in the first quarter. After the first quarter, the Aces trailed by 11, 26-15.

“In the first quarter she got it going she got easy looks at the rim or in transition” Gray said. “Four out of six of her shots that she made in the first half were in transition and we can’t get a player like that, a rhythm player to get going that early and not see bodies. Once she gets it going it’s really hard to stop.” 

The Aces began the second quarter on a 6-0 run, cutting the deficit to 5 points, 26-21, with 8:02 left. Connecticut would increase their defensive pressure, keeping the Aces scoreless for the following four minutes. During this four-minute span, the Sun would go on a 10-0 run, re-establishing a double-digit lead. Chelsea Gray would score the last seven Aces points of the quarter, but it would not be enough to trim the advantage to single digits at the half, 43-28. 

“In the year plus I have been here that is the worst half of basketball I have seen us play scoring 28 points in a half” Hammon said. “That’s about as bad as we have played and it was really on both ends.”

The second half was much the same, with the Aces closing to within 10 points before falling behind by as much as 23 points with three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. The Sun won the rebounding battle 34-26, as well as the turnover battle, forcing 18 Aces turnovers and scoring 21 points off turnovers. In addition, the Aces were outscored 40-24 in points in the paint and 17-5 on fastbreak points. 

“They had thirteen more shots than us in the first half and a lot of that was on the boards, it was turnovers, it was running out in transition” Hammon said. “You throw the ball to the other team on a live ball, it’s really hard to get back and you’re gonna give up points in the paint.”

The Aces will return to Las Vegas after finishing 3-1 on the road trip, with a three-game homestand ahead. The homestand will begin with a game against the Chicago Sky on Sunday at Noon.