The Connecticut Sun live to fight another day after they won Thursday’s Game 3, 105-76, behind Alyssa Thomas’ historic triple-double performance.
Thomas finished Game 3 with 16 points, 15 rebounds, and 11 assists. The Sun has now won all four of their elimination games in the postseason, beating Dallas in the first round, beating Chicago in Games 4 and 5, and have now beaten Las Vegas in Game 3 to force Game 4.
“We’ve been struggling offensively, and we finally got a game back at home, and my teammates were hitting shots,” Thomas said per the AP. “None of this would have been possible without them.”
Alyssa Thomas gets the first-ever TRIPLE-DOUBLE in WNBA Finals history 📝 pic.twitter.com/ps4YVUbsqq
— WSLAM (@wslam) September 16, 2022
When Coach Curt Miller was asked about Thomas and her performance, he lauded Thomas’ toughness and her consistent effort as well.
“What’s remarkable, you guys, is that’s every day. She doesn’t know how else to play,” Miller said. “So if we’re playing and we’re not going 75 percent, or we’re not skeleton, or we’re not doing something 50 percent, if we’re not playing, that’s how AT plays, and that’s what’s different. She’s probably the toughest player I’ve ever coached, but she’s the most consistent player in terms of effort that I’ve ever been around. I know what I’m gonna get every single day. That show she plays, and that’s what makes her special she doesn’t know how to play other than that way.”
“She’s probably the toughest player I’ve ever coached”@CurtMillerWBB speaks about the toughness of @athomas_25 after she erupted for a 16 PTS, 15 REB and 11 AST triple-double ‼️#MoreThan pic.twitter.com/r5k4qngheO
— WNBA (@WNBA) September 16, 2022
After Las Vegas got off to a quick start scoring nine of the game’s first 11 points to force a quick Connecticut timeout, that timeout from Miller settled the Sun in and helped Connecticut outscore the Aces 32-10 the rest of the first quarter, including 25 of the opening frames’ final 29 points.
The Sun dominated the paint on Thursday, scoring a Finals record 64 points at the rime while holding Las Vegas to 26 points. Connecticut used that advantage to lead Las Vegas 53-34 with 1:44 left in the second quarter before the Aces reeled off a 9-0 run, including a buzzer-beating triple from Kelsey Plum from just inside half-court. After halftime, Connecticut took the momentum after a quick 5-0 run to grab a 16-point lead they wouldn’t give up.
“Connecticut came in with a better mental approach than we did,” Coach Becky Hammon said. “I don’t know if we thought we were just gonna show up and they were gonna lay down and hand us the trophy, but we should know better by now that’s a team that is very resilient. If you could encapsulate this team, it’s physical and very resilient — and they have a kind of battle-type mentality, and we didn’t match that tonight.”
Las Vegas leads the best-of-five series 2-1, with Game 4 on Sunday in Connecticut.