When you meet the newly-minted 2020 MVP in the semifinals of the WNBA playoffs, it might be helpful to have two fully-functioning shoulders.
Alas, Alyssa Thomas, with her famously torn labrums, will have to navigate these physical limitations as she attempts to slow A’ja Wilson, a more-than-worthy MVP after she blossomed into an unstoppable offensive force in her third professional season.
Thomas and the No. 7-seed Connecticut Sun (2-0 in the playoffs) take on Wilson and the No. 1-seed Las Vegas Aces (0-0) at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday in Game 1 of the WNBA Semifinals.
Led by Thomas, the Sun appear to be peaking at the right time, convincingly putting away the No. 6-seed Chicago Sky and No. 3-seed Los Angeles Sparks in two-straight elimination playoff games. Wilson and the Aces, in contrast, have been enjoying the spoils of the No. 1 seed, recuperating for nearly a week ahead of an anticipated title run.
Connecticut Sun vs. Las Vegas Aces
When: Sunday, Sept. 20 at 1 p.m. ET
Where: IMG Academy, Bradenton, FL
How to watch: ESPN, TSN2
Key to the matchup: The Aces trounced the Sun in both regular-season contests, although the Thomases (Alyssa and Jasmine) missed the second game. A’ja Wilson was outstanding in both games, but it was Vegas’ bench that gave it the significant advantage. In the first game (on Aug. 20), the duo of Dearica Hamby and Jackie Young had 10 points apiece, while Danielle Robinson chipped in 15 points and nine assists. Then, on Sept. 3, it was a Hamby-Young show with both scoring 20 points and nabbing four steals. Young also had nine assists. Throughout the regular season and into the playoffs, Connecticut has not been able to rely on such high-impact bench performances, placing even more pressure on its starters.
Sun injury report: Bria Holmes (out for season, knee)