‘JJ’, Sun come up short as Aces takes 1-0 lead

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Jones finished with 15 points and nine rebounds

Simba FrenchSend an emailSeptember 12, 2022 192 3 minute readFacebookTwitterLinkedInShare via Email

 Connecticut Sun forward Jonquel Jones (35). AP

After going down by as much 12 points in the first quarter, Bahamian basketball player Jonquel “JJ” Jones and the Connecticut Sun made the game close, but in the end fell to the Last Vegas Aces 67-64 yesterday. With the win, the Aces take a 1-0 lead in the 2022 WNBA Finals series.

Playing on the road in front of over 10,000 loud spectators at the Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, Jones poured in 15 points and missed a double-double as she pulled in nine rebounds in 30 minutes on the floor. The center shot 7-for-15 from the field and 1-for-4 from deep. She had six offensive rebounds and three on the defensive side of the ball.

It is the fourth trip for the Sun and the third trip for the Aces to the WNBA Finals. However, none of them has won the title. It was the first WNBA Finals victory for the Aces.

As expected, the series had some fireworks as both teams were in a dog fight in the second half, but the Aces was able to take down the Sun for the third time this season. After all, the series is featuring the 2021 WNBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) in Jones and the 2022 WNBA MVP, Aces A’ja Wilson.

The Sun had a slow fourth quarter but they almost erased a 60-67 Aces lead with 1:24 left in the game. That came when Alyssa Thomas made back-to-back jump shots as the Aces led 67-64 with 34.2 remaining in the game. After the Aces failed to make a field goal with 17 seconds left in the game, Sun’s head coach Curt Miller called a timeout that saw DeWanna Bonner took the game tying three-point shot, but it was too short as it hit the side of the rim.

Jones had a tough first quarter offensively, as she did not attempt a single filed goal in that quarter to come up empty. That quarter saw them having the tall task of overcoming a 12-point deficit as the Vegas led 21-9 with 4:05 left in that quarter. Miller called a timeout.

They took the lead down to a single digit at the end of the first quarter, as the Aces went into the second quarter with a 25-17 lead.

Jones came alive in the second quarter, scoring eight points on 4-of-7 shooting. She was instrumental in waking the Sun in the second quarter, where they held a 21-9 advantage to make it a competitive game. The Grand Bahama native had a four-point run of her own in the midway point of the quarter. She made a layup and drew the foul with 5:44 left in the second quarter, to cut the Aces lead down to 29-28. She missed the free-throw to tie the game up. Forty seconds later, Jones came down the court and scored a five-foot jump shot to put her team up for the first time of the game, 30-29.

At the end of the first half, the Sun led 38-34.

The Sun was led by Alyssa Thomas, who finished with 19 points and 11 boards to go with three steals and blocks apiece.

Wilson finished with 24 points, 11 rebounds, four blocks and two steals in the win. She had help from Chelsea Gray who scored 21 points.

Both teams shot the ball poorly from the field, as the Sun shot 37.8 percent while the Aces shot 39.7 percent. There was a huge difference in free-throw shooting, as the Sun finished 3-for-5 while the Aces finished 16-for-19 from the charity stripe. The Sun held the advantage on the glass as they had 38 rebounds compared to the Aces 33 rebounds.

The best-of-seven series remains in Las Vegas. It is almost a must-win game for the Sun if they do not want to put a lot of pressure on themselves as the series continues. They will play the second game tomorrow night at 9 p.m. on ESPN.


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