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2020 WNBA Semifinals Game 5 Preview: #1 Las Vegas vs #7 Connecticut

This one is for all the Tostitos.

Las Vegas Aces v Connecticut Sun - Game Four Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

A chance to knock out the top seed in the WNBA Playoffs slipped through the Connecticut Sun’s fingers on Sunday afternoon as they ended up taking an 84-75 loss to the Las Vegas Aces. The win by Las Vegas knotted the series at two wins each, setting up Tuesday night’s decisive Game 5 at IMG Academy. The winner advances to the Finals to face the #2 seeded Seattle Storm, while the loser will grab their bags and leave the Wubble.

Look, there’s really just one thing to discuss when it comes to the result of Game 4: Angel McCoughtry and the third quarter. With Connecticut holding a narrow 38-37 lead at halftime, McCoughtry sparked a 28-16 period in favor of the Aces with the following line: 16 points on a perfect 7-for-7 from the field, three assists, and two steals. And she took 1:54 off to rest on the bench, too.

That’s how the Aces went up as many as 15 in the third and were up 11 heading to the fourth quarter. All they had to do was hold it together, and hold it together they did, as Connecticut never got closer than nine points in the final 10 minutes.

McCoughtry was the star in the deciding period, and Connecticut didn’t really have much to deter 2020 WNBA MVP A’ja Wilson all game long. Wilson finished with 18 points on 7-for-13 shooting to go with 13 rebounds and four assists. As has been typical for the Aces in this series, Las Vegas did their work going to the rim. The Aces went just 1-for-9 from long range in Game 4, with McCoughtry burying a long range bomb as part of her hot streak in the third. With the Sun going 9-for-24 from long range, the two teams were relatively even in the effective field goal department.

If you wanted to be optimistic about the whole thing, you could easily say that Connecticut would be preparing to play Seattle right now if not for the wild eight minutes from McCoughtry in the third. Except that did happen, and when Las Vegas is getting multiple options going next to Wilson, they’re a very scary team. I mean, they were the top team in the league this year for a reason, y’know?

We should note that former Marquette star Natisha Hiedeman got nine minutes of burn in Game four, contributing just an assist and two turnovers to the proceedings. She was a +6 on the afternoon, although that probably has a lot to do with the fact that she was never on the floor with McCoughtry in the third quarter.

Can Connecticut unlock the puzzle that is Las Vegas for a third time in this series? If they do, they’ll be headed to their second straight Finals.

2020 WNBA PLAYOFFS

SEMIFINALS GAME 5

#1 Las Vegas Aces vs #7 Connecticut Sun

Date: Tuesday, September 29, 2020
Time: 6:30pm Central
Location: IMG Academy, Bradenton, FL
Television: ESPN2
Streaming: WatchESPN.com
Twitter Updates: @WNBA & @ConnecticutSun