Can Connecticut Come Back From 2–0?

No team in league history has come back from a 2–0 deficit in the WNBA Finals. What will it take for the Sun to be the first to make that happen?

By Elisha Gunaratnam

When DeWanna Bonner missed the Sun’s last shot at the end of regulation time in Game 1 of the WNBA Finals and was unable to force OT, she seemed calm. Bonner could be seen mouthing “it’s okay” to her teammates. The team looked like they believed her. Despite the loss, Curt Miller and his team seemed happy with how they played, and stated that they felt confident going into Game 2.

Las Vegas Aces forward A’ja Wilson (22) shoots over Connecticut Sun center Brionna Jones (42) (AP Photo/John Locher)

Unfortunately for Connecticut, Game 2 did not go their way.

The Sun couldn’t slow down the deadly trio of A’ja Wilson, Chelsea Gray, and Kelsey Plum on Tuesday night. The three combined for 67 out of Las Vegas’ 85 points on 61.9% (26 of 42) shooting. Wilson led all scorers with 26 points and 10 rebounds (her fifth straight game with at least 20 points and 10 rebounds), Gray had 21 points, 8 assists, 3 rebounds and 3 steals, and Plum had a bounceback game with 20 points, 7 assists and 3 rebounds.

What needs to change in Game 3?

The Sun have played through the paint all season. They averaged 39.6 points per game there during the regular season (which ranked second in the league) and 46.8 points in the paint across their five playoff wins this year. In Game 2, the Aces outscored Connecticut 46–28 in the paint. That 28 points in the paint is the lowest total for the Sun in that area of the floor all postseason. It is incredibly difficult to compete with the guard play of Las Vegas, and the Sun need to be better under the basket if they want to keep their championship dreams alive.

Secondly, while Brionna Jones had another great game, Connecticut’s bench needs to do more. As we highlighted on Tuesday, Dijonai Carrington and Odyssey Sims can be game changers. Yes, the Sun’s bench outscored the Aces’ bench 22–11 in Game 2, but Carrington and Sims only combined for 6 points. Connecticut’s bench is capable of doing some serious damage (particularly when compared to Las Vegas’ bench), and Curt Miller is going to need big games from Jones, Carrington, and Sims in Game 3.

Jonquel Jones high-fives DeWanna Bonner after scoring against the Aces (Connecticut Sun Twitter)

Finally, DeWanna Bonner needs to find her spark again. The Sun are 5–1 when Bonner has scored at least 12 points this postseason. They have not won a single game when she’s been held to single digits. Bonner is shooting a combined 2 of 18 from the floor in this series, and the Sun have struggled tremendously without her offensive contributions. Kelsey Plum had been having a rough couple of games prior to Game 2 when she found her rhythm again, so Connecticut fans have got to be hoping that the same happens for Bonner tonight.

But history is not on Connecticut’s side. Teams that have gone down 0–2 in best-of-five WNBA postseason series have never gone on to win, coming up short in all 15 prior instances. However, it is worth noting that the Sun are 3–0 in elimination games this postseason. They defeated the Dallas Wings in Game 3 on the road and won Games 4 and 5 against the Chicago Sky in the semifinals. There’s a first time for everything, and if Connecticut plays their cards right, they might just find a way to work their way back into this series.

You can watch today’s game at 9:00 PM ET on ESPN 2 and Sportsnet (Canada).

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