The Connecticut Sun have gone from an 0-5 start to one win away from a berth in the WNBA Finals for a second straight season.
They'll look to put away the top-seeded Las Vegas Aces in Game 4 of this semifinal series on Sunday at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
Without star Jonquel Jones in the mix (opted out due to coronavirus), Connecticut dropped its first five games of this unique 2020 season inside the "Wubble" and was 1-6 on Aug. 8. However, the light switched on and focus shifted from having nothing to lose to contending for a playoff spot.
Now, following postseason wins over Chicago and No. 3 seed Los Angeles, the seventh-seeded Sun have taken two of the first three from Las Vegas in this best-of-5 series.
"We know we're capable," Sun star Alyssa Thomas told The New York Times. "We know what we have in this locker room, and we know that we are a great team.
"I think we're proving that each and every night that we step out on this court."
Thomas, who averaged 15.5 points and 9.0 rebounds regular season and now 18.0 with 7.8 boards during the playoffs, has been a prime example of bucking the odds to prove just what the Sun are capable of doing. After suffering a shoulder injury during Connecticut's 83-75 loss to Vegas in Game 2, Thomas sucked it up, played through the pain and finished with 23 points and 12 rebounds in Thursday's 77-68 win in Game 3.
Brionna Jones finished with 15 points and 10 boards and DeWanna Bonner (16.6 ppg, 10.0 rpg in playoffs) added 12 with 10 rebounds as the Sun finished the game on a 20-4 run to once again take down an Aces' team that finished 18-4 during the regular season and boasts 2020 MVP A'ja Wilson.
"We're confident and together as a team, more than we've been all season, and it feels good," Sun guard Jasmine Thomas told ESPN. "The momentum, we're just gonna ride it out, get some rest, regroup and be ready to play tough on Sunday."
Perhaps it's become a crisis of confidence for the Aces, who were the WNBA's highest-scoring team during the regular season at 88.7 points per contest. However, Las Vegas has averaged just 71.0 points in the postseason and twice been held to fewer than 70 in a game.
Wilson, who posted 20 points with 12 rebounds on Thursday, has averaged 22.7 with 9.3 boards in the series. But only two other Aces - Jackie Young (11.0 ppg) and Angel McCoughtry (10.3 ppg) are scoring double-digit points per contest against the Sun.
McCoughtry added 14 points on Thursday for Las Vegas, which shot 38.8 percent from the field, went 5-of-14 from beyond the 3-point arc and was held to just 12 points in the final quarter. The Aces' 15 turnovers also did not help.
"We need another shooter, somebody to step up and score," Vegas coach Bill Laimbeer added to ESPN. "A shooter or an attacker. We need some other easy baskets."