A'ja Wilson totaled 23 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and three blocks, and the top-seeded Las Vegas Aces overcame a 16-point, first-half deficit to beat the seventh-seeded Connecticut Sun 66-63 Tuesday night in the decisive Game 5 of their semifinal series at Bradenton, Fla., earning a berth in the WNBA Finals.
Las Vegas will face the Seattle Storm in the best-of-five finals series beginning Friday. Seattle swept the Minnesota Lynx in its semifinal series to reach the Finals for the second time in three years.
It is the Aces' first Finals appearance since moving from San Antonio to Las Vegas in 2018. The franchise's last Finals appearance came in 2008, when the San Antonio Silver Stars were swept by the Detroit Shock, who were coached then by current Las Vegas coach Bill Laimbeer.
But it took a rally, and a big fourth-quarter performance from the league MVP, to get there. Wilson made nine free throws in the final period, including four straight that turned a one-point deficit with two minutes left into a 66-63 lead with 1:36 to play. That score held up until the end.
Connecticut's DeWanna Bonner missed a leaning jumper at the buzzer.
After chipping away at the double-digit hole throughout the second quarter, Las Vegas used a 13-0 third-quarter run to seize a 52-49 lead when Wilson converted a transition layup at the 4:03 mark.
Las Vegas and Connecticut went back and forth after that, before both offenses went cold late until Wilson's foul shots.
Angel McCoughtry totaled 20 points, three assists and three steals for Las Vegas.
The Aces survived a night when they shot just 35.5 percent from the floor. Las Vegas countered with strong defense, holding Connecticut to 36.6 percent shooting overall (3-for-19 from 3-point range) and 18 second-half points. The Aces forced 15 turnovers.
Connecticut's Alyssa Thomas, who dislocated her right shoulder in Game 2 but returned for the next matchup, totaled 22 points, 10 rebounds and three assists. Bonner added 15 points, eight rebounds, six assists, five steals and three blocks.
The Sun used a 20-7 first-quarter run to build a 26-14 lead when Bonner hit a 3-pointer. That advantage grew to 35-19 early in the second, but Las Vegas got within six when a Carolyn Swords layup made the score 45-39 with 11.8 seconds to play before halftime.
--Field Level Media