The Connecticut Sun aren't going home just yet. Alyssa Thomas and the Sun won a crucial Game 3 105-76 against the Las Vegas Aces on their home court to force a Game 4.
From watching prime Jonquel Jones face off against fellow MVP winner A'ja Wilson, to watching Thomas do everything one possibly can on the court, here are four takeaways from Game 3 of the WNBA Finals:
Alyssa Thomas is outworking everybody
The first triple-double in WNBA Finals history belongs to Alyssa Thomas. If that doesn't describe just how much work she put in to ensure her team got to play for one more game, nothing can encapsulate just how much her presence meant on the floor.
She reached the feat by the third quarter, and finished the game with 16 points, 15 rebounds and 11 assists on top of two steals and a block in the win, accounting for all parts of Connecticut's success whether it be pace on the floor and creating offence or demanding the board on defence.
Thomas nabbed 12 of her rebounds on the defensive end and played suffocating defence that forced unbalanced shots from the Aces - the team was just 11-of-26 from the three point line - and even managed two steals on top of her unreal performance.
While Thomas was available for the end of last season after returning from injury, a fully healthy Thomas on a Connecticut team that thrives on disrespect was the perfect formula to have a historic performance to force a Game 4.
Jonquel Jones playing in her MVP form
The 2021 WNBA MVP has never truly struggled through the first two games of these finals. Jones scored 15 points and nine rebounds in Game 1 and 16 points and 11 rebounds in Game 2, but it was her dynamic play in the third quarter to keep Connecticut's lead in tact that showed what she is capable of.
Notching 11 of her 20 points in the third quarter, leading the Sun in scoring, Jones was strong in the paint. The more Sun players got the ball in Jones' hands, the more success they had.
Even beyond her stat line, which wasn't her usual double-double but rather four assists and five rebounds, Jones dominated the paint and caused A'ja Wilson to work extra hard. Jones forced Las Vegas to foul her and drew attention to herself, giving her teammates more open looks.
The game was Jones' first 20-plus point performance since Game 2 of the WNBA semi-finals against the Chicago Sky. Her MVP-like performance was part of the game plan that motivated the rest of the Sun to be able to score 105 points and win by 29 points against the Aces in front of a lively home crowd.
Connecticut's full team effort is hard to stop
By the third quarter, Connecticut had scored 73 points, more than they had scored in the first two game of the WNBA Finals. The Sun ended the quarter with 77 after the Aces started to build back some momentum thanks to a full team effort by Jonquel Jones, DeWanna Bonner, Brionna Jones, Courtney Williams, Natisha Hiedeman and Alyssa Thomas.
Bonner's defence held Chelsea Gray scoreless in the second half. Gray tallied 11 points, putting an end to her streak of games with 17 or more points in the playoffs. Connecticut is 0-4 when DeWanna Bonner does not score in double digits, but luckily for the Sun she scored 18 points on top of six rebounds and five assists in the win.
Going on a 6-0 run to start the third quarter, Connecticut deflated any momentum the Aces had built up to try and complete the comeback.
Three minutes into the final frame Hiedeman hit a three and proceeded to hit the Steph Curry "night night" to give the Sun a double digit lead once again. DiJonai Carrington made an immediate impact with her defensive pressure and quick hands, helping the Sun increase their lead to 14.
The Sun is a team full of elite talent. When they are firing on all cylinders — the team tallied 32 assists, their bench kept up their lead and took a 27 point advantage in the final minutes of play — they prove that they can keep up with the best of the best.
Las Vegas played sloppy, but there's no answer for A'ja Wilson
A'ja Wilson is one of the best players in the league, and Connecticut's game plan to try and stop the MVP was to simply double-team her. Despite this, Wilson still finished the game with 19 points and played with defensive intensity with three blocks and two steals but was held to just four rebounds on the boards.
Becky Hammon decided to take out her starters and put her bench in the game with four minutes left to play in the final quarter as Connecticut took a demanding 18-point lead. That lead turned into a 20-point gap as soon as the Aces' reserves took the floor, but Wilson's impact kept Las Vegas in the game as long as she could.
Las Vegas committed 16 turnovers and shot just 45 percent from the floor, and allowed Connecticut to go on a 19-0 run to close things out to go 4-0 in elimination games in 2022.
Jackie Young scored 22 points and Kelsey Plum tipped in 17 points. However, Las Vegas committed fouls and turnovers that allowed for six Connecticut player to score double digits as the Sun took Game 3.