All hail Alyssa Thomas, first of her name.
In Game #2 of this best-of-five series between the top seeded Las Vegas Aces and the #7 seeded Connecticut Sun, Thomas left after five minutes because, as it turns out, she separated her shoulder. That’s the kind of thing that will really hinder your ability to play basketball, and without their engine, the Sun ended up falling short as the Aces snagged the win to even the series at one win each.
As I said, separating your shoulder will really hinder your ability to play basketball. It stopped Thomas from playing any more in that game. It did not, however, stop Thomas from not playing in Game 3, but STARTING for the Sun. Head coach Curt Miller was preparing to play the game without her, but it turns out that she could go.
alyssa thomas's shoulders: we are in pain— Matt Ellentuck (@mellentuck) September 24, 2020
alyssa thomas: i do not care
alyssa thomas's shoulders: take us to the hospital
alyssa thomas: fine, you get 3 quarters of 1 game
alyssa thomas's shoulders: there is nothing left of us. please
alyssa thomas: it's game day :)
And go she could. Thomas finished Game 3 with a game high 23 points, a game high 12 rebounds, plus four assists and three steals as the Sun picked up the win, 77-68, to take a 2-1 lead in the series.
I could dive into the details of how this game went — nine lead changes! The Aces had the lead at the start of the fourth and Connecticut had to rally! — but let’s be honest: The only thing that matters is the heroics of Alyssa Thomas to push her team to within 40 minutes and one more win from their second straight WNBA Finals appearance.
Okay, one other thing matters: Natisha Hiedeman. The former Marquette guard played a little over three minutes in Game 3, sinking one of her two field goal attempts to contribute two points to the Connecticut victory. As always, she’s an excellent role player on this squad, and when it’s a tight game against a great team, she’s not going to get a lot of run in a game. Hey, when you’re pulling off upsets after starting out the year 0-5, that’s probably okay.
With a 2-1 lead in a five game series, Connecticut can close the series out with a win on Sunday afternoon. It will be the first of two semifinal games on Sunday, and in the other one, we might see an ending as well. Seattle is up 2-0 on Minnesota in that series after the series got started late because of a few inconclusive COVID-19 tests from the Storm locker room. I think it’s safe to say that Breanna Stewart et. al. have not been negatively affected by that.