UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) — Alyssa Thomas scored 27 points and Courtney Williams added 24 to help the Connecticut Sun rally to beat the Las Vegas Aces 89-85 on Friday night.
The win kept the Sun in second place in the standings and gave them the tiebreaker in the season series between the two teams. Earning a two-seed would give the team a double-bye to the semifinals and help them avoid the single-game elimination games. Connecticut has lost the last two years in the playoffs in the one-game format, doing so both times as a host team.
Connecticut (20-8) trailed by 11 in the third quarter before Thomas took over, scoring 11 of the next 13 points to tie the game. Williams’ jumper with a minute left gave Connecticut a 70-68 advantage, the team’s first lead since early in the game. Neither team could get more than four-point lead in the final quarter.
The Sun led 87-85 with about 30 seconds left when Jackie Young missed a driving layup. Connecticut corralled the rebound and the Sun worked the clock down before Williams hit a jumper from the free-throw line with 10.2 seconds left to make it a two-possession game and seal the fourth straight win.
Liz Cambage scored 18 points and A’ja Wilson added 17 to lead Las Vegas (19-10), which saw its four-game winning streak end.
Connecticut honored former star guard Lindsay Whalen by putting her number 13 in the rafters alongside those of other former Sun greats Katie Douglas, Margo Dydek and Nykesha Sales. Whalen helped the Sun reach the WNBA Finals in 2004 and 2005 after getting drafted fourth by the team in 2004. With the Sun, she played in 197 games, scoring 2,290 points and had 964 assists.
It’s the third time Whalen’s number has been honored. The University of Minnesota, where she starred and is coaching now, retired her number in 2005. The Minnesota Lynx retired her jersey in June.
Rachel Banham, who is out with a left ankle injury, was wearing a Whalen No. 13 Connecticut Sun jersey while on the bench.