The Connecticut Sun defeated the defending champion Chicago Sky 72-63 on Thursday to advance to the WNBA Finals.
The journey to the championship level was tough for coach Kurt Miller and the Suns. They lost Jasmine Thomas to a torn ACL in early May. Miller’s mother died in August. In the series-clinching Game 5, the Sun fell behind by 10 points. But like all season, Connecticut’s grit and tenacity helped them defy the odds.
That tenacity, along with Dewana Bonner’s refusal to go down from Kahleh Copper, helped Connecticut pull off an 18-0 run to upset the defending champs and punch their ticket.
“Everybody has stories in this league,” Miller said on ESPN. “Our — it seems like that’s one thing we’ve struggled with this season, in and out of that locker room. It’s amazing that this team doesn’t want to use that as an excuse.
Not only does eliminating Chicago guarantee a new champion, but whoever wins will win the title for the first time in history. A new coach will also win his first championship game.
Connecticut will take on the top seed of the season when they face the Las Vegas Aces, led by DP and recent two-time MVP Aja Wilson, the Sixth Player of the Year, and fellow All-Star guard Kelsey Plum. All-Star and Spy D’Arika Hamby, Chelsea Gray, the game’s most dangerous player, and Jackie Young, the reigning most improved player. Don’t forget rookie coach Becky Hammon, who won Coach of the Year two weeks ago.
“There’s not a lot of people picking us in Vegas, either, and that’s OK,” Miller said. “We’re going to prepare and try to play Connecticut Sun style.”
The Sun and Aces begin the WNBA Finals Sunday at noon on ABC.