Everything was on the line during game five of the WNBA playoffs between the Connecticut Sun and Las Vegas Aces, and both teams gave every possession their all.
Although no fans were in attendance cheering on their respective team, the atmosphere certainly felt like a sold out crowd.
The winners would cash in their ticket to the WNBA finals, while the losers would see their season come to an end.
Within the first minutes of the game, it seemed like a rewind of game two in which Alyssa Thomas torched the Aces. Thomas came out hot, scoring 12 points in the first quarter and led the Sun to a 30-17 lead.
However, league MVP A’ja Wilson refused to settle for anything other than a win.
Wilson calmly took over and led the Aces to their first WNBA finals since moving to Las Vegas, earning the 66-63 victory.
“Knew it was time to put the team on my back,” said Wilson. “Though I was in cruise control throughout the whole season. When the fourth quarter came had to flip the switch. Felt like I did that.”
The Aces turned the ball over nine times in the first half, and trailed by as many as 16 points in the second quarter.
The Aces turned up their defense and rallied in the third quarter, scoring 11 straight points to take a 54-53 lead into the fourth quarter.
Both teams missed several shots and lay-ups in the final three minutes, possibly as a result of fatigue settling in.
The Aces trailed by one, 63-62, with 2:39 remaining, but scored the final four points of the game from the free throw line by Wilson. A’ja scored 11 points in the fourth quarter, including nine of 10 free-throws.
The Sun were 3 for 17 from the 3-point range and were held to 18 second half points.
The Aces’ bench crippled by the absence of Dearica Hamby, was held to zero points.
A’ja Wilson recorded her third straight double-double with 23 points and 11 rebounds, and has scored in double figures in all 27 games played this season.
Angel McCoughtry finished with 20 points, Kayla McBride added 10 and Carolyn Swords grabbed 10 rebounds for the Aces.
Alyssa Thomas carried the Suns with 22 points and 10 rebounds, while playing with her shoulder injury.
The top seeded Aces will face the Seattle Storm in a best of five series beginning Friday. The Aces won both games against the Storm this season, but without All-Star Sue Bird in both games.